A firestorm has emerged in social media over the treatment of a Black female high school student. The incident involves school resource officer Dep. Ben Fields who is recoded brutally flipping the girl out of her desk and tossing her across the classroom. By all reports, the student refused to participate in the class and was told by the teacher to leave the room. An administrator was called, but the girl still refused to leave. The incident occurred at Spring Valley High School in Richland County, South Carolina.
It was then that Fields was called into the classroom and he can be heard saying, “You’re either going to come with me or I’ll make you.” At no point in the video is the girl behaving violently.
The video was uploaded on Monday to social media and has received national news coverage.
The video is angering and cringe-worthy and has caused outrage with the public. Sheriff Leon Lott has now requested that the FBI and the US Department of Justice conduct independent investigations. According to Lott, Fields is on administrative leave pending the results of an investigation. Lott stated, “It’s very disturbing what happened today. It’s something I have to deal with and that’s what we’re going to be doing.”
The Richland school district issued statements expressing concern over the incident and announced that an investigation will begin.
Richland School Board Chairman Jim Manning issued the following statement:
“I have watched the video several times and there is no doubt that the video is extremely disturbing. The amount of force used on a female student by a male officer appears to me to be excessive and unnecessary. As the parent of a daughter in Richland School District Two I can assure you that we are taking this matter very seriously. The district superintendent has been in constant contact with the Richland County Sheriff to express our concern over this matter and the district has banned the deputy in question from all District Two property. The Sheriff has assured us that a full investigation is under way and that he wants the same questions answered that we all have about this matter. At this time, I will reserve further comment and judgment until the full investigation has been completed. However, I want to assure you that the Richland Two Board and District staff are committed to the safety of all of our students and are taking immediate steps to ensure that our students are treated with the full respect and dignity that they deserve while in our care.”
The unidentified girl in the video was charged with disturbing schools, and was released to the custody of her parents.
Fields has been sued twice during his time on the job. In 2007, he responded to a noise complaint in which a couple sued over excessive force. Fields was accused of handcuffing the husband and kicking him. The jury ruled in favor of Fields in that incident. In 2013, a student stated that Fields falsely accused him of being in a gang. This accusation ultimately led to the student being expelled. No issue of force is involved and the lawsuit is still pending.