Baltimore officer seen slapping teen at school was fired as deputy in 2003

A Baltimore public school police officer under investigation for a video showing him slapping and kicking a teenager at a school was fired from the city sheriff’s department in 2003 for his role in an incident in which a stun gun was used on a man mistaken for a bank robber.

Court records show that Anthony C. Spence Jr., 44, also was the subject of a protective order in a domestic violence case in 2011.

Spence acknowledged in a telephone conversation with The Associated Press on Friday that he’s the subject of a criminal investigation into the actions captured on cellphone video Tuesday at the REACH Partnership School. He referred questions to his lawyer, Michael Davey, who didn’t immediately respond to calls and emails.

Spence said he wouldn’t discuss the matter because the news media would “twist” the story.

“Right now I’m the bad guy,” he said.

School officials initially said officers responded to a reported intruder, and that the young man in the video wasn’t a REACH student. On Friday, the school system said in a statement that he is “believed to be a student on the school’s roster,” as asserted by his lawyer, Lauren Geisser. Geisser has said he’s a 10th-grader.

The school system promised a thorough, timely review.

“We remain committed to handling this matter with the highest priority,” the statement said.

The Baltimore Sun reported that Spence was one of two deputies fired after he and another deputy grabbed a Salvadoran construction worker who matched the description of a suspected bank robber at the downtown Lexington Market in 2002. An internal investigation found that a third deputy shot the man twice with a stun gun while he was pinned on the floor, according to findings the Sun reported in 2003. Spence and the other fired deputy, Clyde Boatwright, said they were made scapegoats after an outcry by the city’s Hispanic community. The city paid $200,000 to settle the man’s lawsuit.

Both Spence and Boatwright were hired as school police officers in 2003, public records show. The Baltimore public school system has its own police force, separate from the city police department, which is investigating this week’s incident.

Online court records show that Spence was the subject of a protective order in a domestic violence case in 2011. The Sun reported Thursday that Spence’s girlfriend, who was also a school police officer, obtained the order after complaining that Spence had struck her in the face. She asked for the order to be removed nine days later, and no charges were filed.

Spence and a female school police officer shown standing by in the cellphone video are on paid administrative leave while the school system and city police investigate the incident. The school police chief, Marshall T. Goodwin, has also been put on administrative leave, although school officials haven’t said why.

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