For fifteen seconds, a classmate filmed a fellow female student supposedly getting ripped from her desk, and thrown across the floor by a policeman. It seemed to go viral from a phone-video taken by a fellow student.
Footage shows a South Carolina sheriff’s deputy, Ben Fields, a sheriff’s deputy working as a school resource officer, manhandling a student during a classroom arrest at Spring Valley High in Columbia, South Carolina. It’s amazing how a 15-second video shows what is perceived to be a violent take-down, when actually it is a glorified falsification.
As a student in an all-male Catholic Jesuit High School, the author noticed that there were no discipline problems in a school with 500 boys. One time 2 boys were playing and laughing around. The Introductory to Physical Science, IPS, teacher promptly grabbed both boys by the hair, and put them out of the classroom.
Another teacher almost tripped over a gym bag left on the floor, and promptly tossed it out of a third story. And one time our Prefect of Discipline, while assigning and giving out lockers at the start of school one year, noticed a melee of boys in the long line waiting for locks and lockers. It was raucous enough to literally bowl (knock-down on the floor) a large number of wrongdoers. It was noticed this Prefect was ‘stoutly’ built. Guys were all over the floor after this confrontation.
Thirty years later, things are done slightly different. A particular student’s footage shows a South Carolina sheriff’s deputy, Ben Fields, manhandling a female student during a classroom arrest at Spring Valley High, in SC. Because of this, The Guardian – among others – blasted how an officer tossed a black female student across a classroom floor, stirring outrage in SC, and in the nation. Even a newsletter for concerned black parents was distributed and entitled: “School to Prison Pipeline.”
When the incident occurred last week, the FBI director James Comey blamed the “era of viral videos” for a perceived spike in violent crime as officers begin to fear being recorded. If one looked closely, video showed Fields had to manhandle the student for refusing to leave her chair. She would not move, or give up her phone.
Parents accused the district’s leaders of negligence, and said the altercation reveals race issues. Not likely, since Fields was dating a Black woman at the time. When an officer of the law gets “zero” acknowledgement from a suspect, is dissed from the start, and finds the ‘student’ having essentially locked herself into the seat physically, any arrest must be made without being seated.
Discipline Levels Of Punishment
Level One infractions include non-threatening misbehavior like cheating, truancy, cursing, etc … Discipline includes Saturday detention. Level Two offenses involve more dangerous behavior like fighting, possession of drug paraphernalia, theft and vandalism. Punishments range from removal from class to expulsion. Level Three offenses include criminal action: bringing weapons to school, assault and battery, drug use and sexual offenses. Punishments include criminal prosecution.
When someone refuses to move, or be unseated, the officer involved must act quickly to gain active control of the situation. In fact, any teacher, who should always be in control, may have to be as decisive as the police officer. The problem is those lines get blurry once a police officer steps into a classroom. A case can escalate from routine, teenage Level One behavior – like looking at a cellphone, as the Richland student in the video allegedly did, to a desk-flipping arrest.
Sheriff Sided With Fields; Fired Him Anyway
Sheriff Leon Lott actually fired Ben Fields, no longer a deputy with the Richland County sheriff’s department. Lott said responsibility for initiating the incident falls on the student, but didn’t justify Fields’ actions. “This whole incident was started by this student. She is responsible for initiating this action. There’s some responsibility that falls on her. She must be held responsible for what she did.”
But Fields was fired anyway, likely due to perceived race relations, even though likely not a problem due to his intimate relations with a black female.
In a statement released through his lawyer, Fields thanked those who offered support of his actions during this incident, which his lawyer has said were “justified and lawful.”
“To that extent, we believe that Mr. Fields’ actions were carried out professionally and that he was performing his job duties within the legal threshold.”
Sheriff Lott said the ‘uncooperative’ girl was uninjured in the confrontation, but “may have had a rug burn.”
Even the school board got involved with a hearing. This meeting exposed major fault-lines in the community. Rebecca Woodford, a mother of Spring Valley students, told local WSPA news: “My daughters all love him.”
‘GMA’ Continues Racist Tendencies
Columbia attorney Todd Rutherford told ABC’s Good Morning America that Fields should have been fired as soon as Lott saw the video recorded by several students.
Rutherford states, “She now has a cast on her arm, she has neck and back injuries.” Wow, it seems GMA and alleged victims will go a long way for a second in the spotlight.