OKC Police officer facing charges for reportedly punching high school student
An Oklahoma City Police Officer accused of punching a 16-year-old boy has been criminally charged.
Police tell us Master Sergeant Thomas Jaha is facing a misdemeanor charge of assault and battery.
A veteran police officer taking down a 16 year old student. That's what you can see in the U.S. Grant High School surveillance video from October 9th.
"The officer did strike the student in the face, in the head area," said Oklahoma City Police Captain Paco Balderrama.
Oklahoma City police tell us Master Sergeant Thomas Jaha was a school resource officer at U.S. Grant when he came across a student in the hallway who wasn't supposed to be there. Reportedly that student wouldn't go back to a school assembly. Police say during the encounter the student took an aggressive stance.
"You know clenched up his fists, kind of squared off on the officer and that's when the officer struck him in the head," said Balderrama.
We're told the incident was immediately reported and police launched an investigation.
"Officers are allowed to use physical force to protect themselves and the public but there is a level of force that is appropriate in every sitation and we believe the level of force used in this incident was not appropriate," said Balderrama.
Jaha, a 25 year veteran of the department, was moved to restricted duty when the fight happened.
"I haven't made contact with the student I don't know what their involvement was. I know that their parents just allowed the police department and the school system to take care of the incident," said Balderrama.
In search warrant documents obtained by fox 25 nearly two weeks ago Jaha claimed self-defense...
The Oklahoma City School District released a statement that they've been working with police and that the safety of students is a priority.
Wednesday Jaha been placed on administrative leave as a misdemeanor assault and battery charge has been filed.
"We also will conduct an administrative investigation we always do. Obviously common sense would tell us if there's a criminal violation, there's usually a policy violation," said Balderrama.
Oklahoma City POlice say they handed over their findings to the district attorney. The DA announced today Jaha is facing one charge of assault and battery.