Update, 11:00 p.m.: The New York Daily News reports that this is not the first violent altercation the officer in question, Ben Fields, has been involved in. Army veteran Carlos Martin told the Daily News Fields’ unprovoked assault on him a decade ago left mental scars.
Aaron Johnson, who says he is a student at Spring Valley and in the classroom during the altercation, outlined what he saw in the build up to the violent arrest.
Update, 9:30 p.m.: The New York Times adds some new details to this story out of South Carolina today. The most notable one is that Ben Fields, the “school resource officer” in the two videos taken inside a classroom, is not only an employee of the county sheriff’s department he is “also identified as a defensive line and strength coach on the football team,” the Times notes. It isn’t clear whether Fields was volunteering as a coach or getting paid, but either way it’s hard to imagine a situation where a male administrator, teacher, or coach—paid or unpaid—can engage in a physical altercation with a female student for any reason at all aside from self-defense.
Update, 8:30 p.m.: The Richland County Sheriff’s office has placed the officer in the video, Senior Deputy Ben Fields, on administrative duty with pay until the department can fully investigate the disturbing video showing Fields violently restraining and forcibly removing a student from a high school classroom. “The girl was charged with disturbing schools, and was released to the custody of her parents,” WLTX reports. “[WLTX] reached out to Richland School District Two Superintendent Dr. Libby Roof said that the district was ‘deeply concerned’ about the incident, and will not tolerate any actions that jeopardize the safety of students.”
Original Post: Above is video of a “school resource officer” at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, South Carolina throwing a female student out of her desk to the ground and across a classroom. As reported by local station WISTV, Richland County sheriff Leon Lott says the officer was purportedly “acting in response to a student who was refusing to leave class.”
“The student was told she was under arrest for disturbing school and given instructions which she again refused,” Lott said. “The video then shows the student resisting and being arrested by the SRO.”
The video appears to have been first publicized by activist and New York Daily News writer Shaun King on Twitter; King says it was taken today.