Following the release of phone-recorded footage of the incident last week, two Baltimore school police officers have been charged in the assault of a teen student. Anthony Spence and Saverna Bias, both department veterans of more than a decade, were formally charged on Wednesday before posting bond and being released. The charges are the result of an investigation by the Special Investigation Response Team, NBC News reports.
"The team conducted interviews and gathered evidence related to this case," Baltimore Police Department spokesperson T.J. Smith tells NBC. "They consulted with the Baltimore State's Attorney's Office after they concluded their investigation. Charges were prepared and filed with the commissioner yesterday evening." Spence and Bias were described as "roving officers" who had been assigned to patrol REACH Partnership School’s designated safety zone.
Spence, 44, is seen in the footage repeatedly slapping the unidentified teen while Bias, 53, watches and does not intervene. An unnamed witness reportedly told investigators that Bias told Spence to "smack him" because he had "too much mouth," according to the Baltimore Sun. Spence was charged with second-degree assault, misconduct in office, and second-degree child abuse. "Right now, I'm the bad guy," Spence said in a phone interview with AP on Friday, Mashable reports. According to Spence's attorney, he believed the teen was "trespassing." However, as has since been confirmed by the victim's family and legal counsel, he was indeed a REACH student.
Bias has been charged with second-degree assault and misconduct in office, with both officers turning themselves into authorities on Tuesday evening following the issuance of warrants. Spence and Bias were both originally placed on paid administrative leave, though Spence's status has now been demoted to unpaid administrative leave following his felony charge. Bias, NBC News confirms, will continue as paid.