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Officer in Baltimore school beating probe was a fired deputy

BALTIMORE -- A Baltimore public school police officer under investigation for slapping and kicking a tenth-grade student at a school was fired by the city sheriff's department in 2003.

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Officer seen on video slapping a student at a Baltimore school. CBS News

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

Spence acknowledged in a telephone conversation Friday that he's the subject of a criminal investigation into the incident captured on cellphone video Tuesday at the REACH Partnership School, in which he appears to repeatedly slap and kick a teen. That beatdown, which another officer watched, allegedly sent the teen to the hospital with bruised ribs and and injuries to his face.

Spence referred questions to his lawyer, Michael Davey, who didn't immediately respond to calls and emails, but he told The Baltimore Sun that his client thought the boy was trespassing on school grounds and questioned him. He said he couldn't go into specifics because of the ongoing investigation.

The paper reported that Spence was one of two deputies who had previously been fired after they beat and used an electric stun gun on a man they mistook for a bank robber. The city paid $200,000 to settle the man's lawsuit.

Spence and the department's chief are on administrative leave. City police have said they're in the early stages of a criminal investigation into the incident. That probe, officials say, was requested by the acting chief for the city's school police department.

"You hope that's never your child, and that when your child goes to school, that child is respected and appreciated and that the people who take an oath to protect those children never turn around and do what that officer did to my client, " said his attorney, Lauren Geisser.

Coalition to Reform School Discipline has for months been demanding an overhaul of how officers operate in Baltimore City schools.

"We don't know what happened right before this incident, that's true. But no matter what happened, that officer's behavior was inappropriate," said Nicole Joseph, Coalition to Reform School Discipline.