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Charges: School bus driver ran after Fridley Middle School student, tackled them from behind

The school's cameras caught the entire attack, authorities say.
Paul D. Martin

Paul D. Martin

A Twin Cities school bus driver is accused of tackling a middle school student from behind, with charges saying he later told police he "lost it."

Charges filed against Paul D. Martin detail the alleged incident, which authorities say happened on school grounds (6100 W. Moore Lake Drive NE) Tuesday morning.

The school's camera system shows Martin "running off the bus" around 7:45 a.m., heading toward the 12-year-old victim, who was on the sidewalk in the north parking lot of Fridley High School, according to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday. The charges allege Martin pushed a student who'd been walking in the grass with the victim, then tackled the 12-year-old from behind.

Both he and the victim tumbled to the ground, where Martin stayed on top of the child "for a short period of time," the charges state. The video shows Martin then got up, picked up an item off the ground which he handed to the attacked student, then walked back to the bus, according to the charges.

Related: Investigation after video allegedly shows MN school staffer hitting student with rolled up paper

Word of the incident made it to Fridley Middle School Principal Dr. Amy Cochran, who called police.

The school district said it took quick action, explaining in a statement Martin worked for a contracted bus company, not Fridley Public Schools, and that it took steps "to terminate the driver’s services."

"First and foremost, our thoughts are with the student, whose well-being is our top concern," the district's statement read. "No student should ever have to experience this type of senseless act. The safety of all our students is a high priority for us, and we are saddened that this unfortunate incident happened to one of our students."

The district said it can't provide any additional information because of student privacy laws.

Related: Charges: Teacher screamed at student in weight room, pulled her up by her ankles

Martin, from Ham Lake, was booked into Anoka County Jail Tuesday. The charges allege he admitted to investigators he just "lost it." 

He's charged with fifth-degree assault, a misdemeanor, and made his first court appearance Wednesday afternoon. 

The police department, in a statement, called it an "ongoing investigation" and asked anyone with information to call Anoka County Dispatch at 763-427-1212.

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