According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the October 3 incident, which unfolded at the school's library, was set off after the teenager, Zahki Koonce, touched Henry Coleman on the shoulder and asked, "What's up?"
Surveillance footage obtained by Atlanta's Channel 2 Action News shows Coleman react to the interaction by suddenly body slamming Koonce onto a nearby desk as the student is walking away from the employee.
— Tom Jones (@TomJonesWSBTV) November 16, 2018
"I just felt my body, my whole body just fly into the table with books on it," Koonce later told the news station. "He came to the table [and] slung me off the table to the ground."
The incident later resulted in simple battery charges against both parties after Coleman claimed that Koonce had actually punched him in the arm, with a closed fist, the Journal reported. However, charges were later dropped against Koonce, and Coleman was booted from his job after officials with the Atlanta Public Schools conducted their own investigation into the fracas.
In a previously released statement from the school district, spokesperson Ian Smith told the Journal that Coleman had been removed from the grounds and was "proceeding through the steps of the district's disciplinary process according to the civil service policy."
Kimberly Bandoh, Koonce's attorney, told WSBV-TV Channel 2 that her client was telling the truth about Coleman's sudden attack all along. "He told the truth. Exactly what happened is what he said happened. I told you so," she said.
Although Coleman is still facing simple battery charges, Koonce's family wants Coleman to face harsher charges.
"That was not battery, that was a brutal attack," Jamil Koonce, the student's father, told the station. "That was aggravated assault, cruelty to children."
"It's crazy; I just can't get it. I don't understand why he would attack a child like that," he added, calling the surveillance footage extremely upsetting.
Channel 2 reported that Koonce is no longer a student at South Atlanta.