Anthony C. Spense, a Baltimore school police officer, has escaped a felony child-abuse charge after being caught on video slapping and kicking a student outside a city high school last month, the Baltimore Sun reports.
Prosecutors dropped the felony charge Thursday, Spense's defense attorney, Warren Brown, announced. Now only two misdemeanor charges—second-degree assault and misconduct—remain. In light of the new development, Spence plans to contact the Baltimore City Public Schools district about having his pay resumed, Brown said. Spence, 44, was suspended without pay from the school police force because he faced a felony charge.
Brown accused the student of spitting on Spence, who slapped him in retaliation. Brown said that the student was a truant who had not been to school for months, only showing up that day, March 1, to get a bus pass.
"When it's all said and done and the evidence is laid out, whether it's a judge or jury that's hearing the case, they should have some concern about the action of the victim of this case," Brown said, according to the Sun. "It's a vile act that yields an emotional response.
"You're dealing with some kids who are anti-social, lead-poisoned, irrational, angry, mired in poverty and despair," he added. "It's not Leave It to Beaver. You're dealing with a tough group of people."
Brown believes that most people would be sympathetic to Brown's case.
"We can't give [school police officers] carte blanche, but by the same token, they're human beings," he said. "You spit on somebody, you should expect that there's going to be a physical reaction. You're assuming the risk. That's just the reality."
Read more at the Baltimore Sun.