It’s Tuesday, and you know what that means! It’s time for yet another police-beating video to go viral!
The latest incident took place at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, SC. Video captured by a student shows a white police officer grabbing an African-American student by the neck, flipping her desk backwards, and dragging her across the floor. According to the Richland County Sheriff, the officer was responding to a student who was refusing to leave the classroom. Mission accomplished, I guess.
The student, who has not been named, was arrested, and was later released to her parents. The officer involved has been identified as Ben Fields. In addition to being a police officer, he reportedly works as an assistant coach for the school’s football team (Go Vikings!). The FBI is now investigating the incident at the request of the Richland County Sheriff’s Office, and Fields, who has previously been sued for civil rights violations, is on administrative leave.
As is the case with many of these videos, there isn’t much context leading up to the encounter. But according to WISTV:
The person who posted the Instagram video says the student was initially asked to leave the class for telling the teacher that she would not put away her phone. The poster says the teacher disciplined the student with a write-up for being disrespectful and disobedient. After being asked to leave again, and her refusing, an administrator came to remove her, she refused, and that is when the SRO was called in.
Tony Robinson Jr., a student at the school who recorded the encounter, told WLTX-TV that it seemed the officer intended to make a scene from the moment he walked in the room.
“He could already tell what he was going to do,” Robinson said. “I’ve never seen anything so nasty looking, so sick to the point that other students are turning away.”
A second video does show the student striking the officer, but it’s not until after he puts his hands around her neck. The second video also gives a glimpse of a sweet Ninja Turtles jacket being worn by another student. But I suppose that’s not important.
Of course, striking an officer who is trying to arrest you is never a good (or legal) idea, and I have no idea what standard operating procedure is for a cop in this situation. But I know that when you’re an adult, and you’re dealing with an unarmed teenage-girl who is not being violent, grabbing her by the neck and body slamming her seems just a tad unnecessary, even if you’re carrying a badge.
(Source: The New York Times)