An Oklahoma City school resource officer has been charged with misdemeanor assault and battery following an investigation into an altercation with a juvenile student.
Wednesday afternoon, the Oklahoma City Police Department held a press conference following the charge filed against the school resource officer.
The incident occurred October 9, when authorities say OKC Police Sergeant Thomas Jaha was involved in a physical altercation with a16-year-old student at U.S. Grant High School.
According to the police report, Sergeant Jaha found the student in the bathroom during a school assembly. Jaha then asked the student to leave the bathroom and join his classmates at the assembly. As the student was being escorted to the assembly, he stopped to get a drink from the water fountain and Jaha asked him to continue to the assembly. That’s when Jaha says the student faced him with a clenched fist and in self-defense he struck the student.
The incident was immediately reported and the student was arrested for disorderly conduct. But, surveillance video also captured the incident inside the school and an investigation was opened.
Sergeant Jaha was placed on restrictive duty after the Oklahoma Police Department became aware of the incident.
OCPD's Cpt. Paco Balderrama said the investigation revealed the officer did strike the student in the head and he believes it was twice.
“Although officers obviously have the right to defend themselves, they have the right to use physical force to protect themselves, to protect the public, in this particular case the force was not appropriate to the incident,” said Cpt. Balderrama.
Sergeant Jaha now faces one charge of misdemeanor assault and battery. He has also been officially place on paid administrative leave.
The Oklahoma City Public Schools released a statement saying, "From the onset we worked with the Oklahoma City Police Department assisting with their internal investigation surrounding the situation between a former school resource officer and a U.S. Grant High School student. The safety of our students is priority and we will continue our efforts to maintain a safe learning environment inside our schools."