NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Tuesday, November 10, 2015, 9:39 PM
A Florida police school resource officer slams a 13-year-old boy to the ground and twists his arm for over 40 seconds in a video released Tuesday.
Investigators said the Kissimmee Middle School student did nothing to provoke the takedown, and officer Mario Badia was placed on leave and arrested in May after the run-in earlier that month, according to the Kissimmee Police Department. Badia, 41, pleaded not guilty to battery and child abuse last month, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
The video investigators viewed of the incident before charging Badia went public ahead of Badia’s trial later this year, according to Angela Starke, the spokeswoman for the Ninth Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office. Badia found out he has been fired from the force Friday, Starke said.
The one-sided clash between the officer and the boy, who is African-American, happened months before other school officers faced discipline for their treatment of students.
A video was released Tuesday showing Kissimmee Police officer Mario Badia taking down a middle school boy by the 13-year-olds arm and twisting it for 42 seconds, police said.
The footage shows the officer pointing at the middle schooler after the boy and his mother argued in the lobby on the morning of May 8. Police said Badia yelled at the boy over his behavior toward his mother and tried to grab the boy’s chin to turn him and make him listen better. The boy stepped back and tried to block the officer with his arm, but Badia shoved him in the chest and grabbed his shirt and right arm, according to an arrest affidavit.
The video displays the officer yanking the boy down by his arm and twisting it around for 42 seconds as the boy writhes in pain in what investigators described as a “torque” hold. The officer finally releases him as his mother and the reception area full of people look on.
The boy never got any commands he was being arrested or detained and had “never showed any aggression toward Officer Badia anyway,” the arresting document said. The 84-pound teen ended up with a sprained wrist and ankle after the officer’s takedown, his mom, Alexis Richmond, told WFTV.
“He came in with such a hostile manner, like he was ready for war,” Richmond said. “I felt so helpless.”
Officials at the Central Florida Police Benevolent Association, which represents Kissimmee police officers, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about the case Tuesday night. Efforts to contact Badia, who reportedly started at the department in 2013, were unsuccessful.
“The Kissimmee Police Department did not hesitate to relieve Officer Badia from duty upon viewing the video and opened a criminal and an internal investigation into the incident,” Kissimmee police spokeswoman Stacie Miller said in a statement. “The internal investigation found that Officer Badia used improper conduct on duty and excessive force as it is related to our use of force policy. Officer Badia has been given notice of our intent to terminate his employment.”
Kissimmee Middle School, shown in a Google image, was the site of the May 8 incident.
Badia and Police Chief Lee Massie are scheduled to meet to discuss his firing on Nov. 20, and Badia can appeal the termination afterward, Miller noted. His criminal trial is slated to start Dec. 7, according to the Sentinel.
Other cases involving police officers’ treatment of students have also resulted in punishment for the cops. Richland County, S.C., deputy Ben Field was fired last month after a video showed him grabbing and flipping over a teen who wouldn’t stand up from her desk during an arrest. And Oklahoma City MSgt. Thomas Jaha was charged with assault and battery after police said he punched a 16-year-old boy over a hall pass.
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