In a Facebook post the day after the fights, Chesterfield police Chief Jeffrey Katz noted that School Resource Officer Anthony Bowen was assaulted while using his body to shield a young man being attacked by a mob. The officer was struck several times in the process, Katz said.
Katz posted a screenshot of the officer on the ground with his back to the camera. The image was taken from a cell phone video of the fight that was posted on social media. The video shows students, police officers and at least two school staff members in the midst of fights in a school hallway.
“The officer conducted himself bravely, selflessly and without regard for his own well-being,” Katz wrote. “That’s how our people are expected to perform and with rare exception, that’s how we conduct business. We are human, and we often work within challenging conditions, under great stress and with incomplete information.”
“I’m proud of this officer, thankful for his service and want to make it known exactly why I remain committed to ensuring our children remain safe within their learning environments,” the chief added.
Katz also used the opportunity to address the role of school resource officers in public schools, which in some school districts is being re-examined, including Richmond, where Superintendent Jason Kamras has said he doesn’t believe police belong in schools.