A white public school officer in South Carolina is under investigation after two videos surfaced that show him grabbing, slamming, and dragging a black female student.
Posted online Monday, the clips show a Spring Valley High School officer telling the student she was under arrest for “disturbing school,” reports WIS-TV.
“The student was … given instructions which she again refused,” Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott told WIS-TV. The first video “then shows the student resisting and being arrested by the [school resource officer],” said Lott, who told WIS-TV the officer in question was Ben Fields.
In the first arrest clip, Fields reportedly grabs a student around the neck before he slams the desk backward while the student remains in her seat. The officer then jerks her out of the desk and drags her toward the front of the classroom.
“On your back,” Fields allegedly says in the video. “Give me your hands.”
The video is short — all of 15 seconds — and doesn’t capture much before or after the arrest.
But a second, 92-second video shared by WIS-TV captures audio of the officer shortly before and after the arrest.
“You don’t know me? You’re going to come with me or I’m going to make you,” he tells the student in the clip.
Here’s the first, shorter video of the incident that is making the rounds, shared on Twitter by Shaun King, senior justice writer at the New York Daily News.
Warning, the clip is violent:
Since the videos emerged, Fields has been placed on administrative duty and “will not be back at any school pending the results of an investigation,” Lieutenant Curtis Wilson of the Richland County Sheriff’s Department told WLTX 19.
Debbie Hamm, Spring Valley High’s superintendent, also issued a statement saying that the district is “deeply concerned.”
Here’s Hamm’s full statement on the matter:
Our district is deeply concerned about an incident that occurred at Spring Valley High School today. The incident took place between a school resource officer employed by the Richland County Sheriff’s Department and a student. Video of the incident is circulating on social media.
Student safety is and always will be the District’s top priority. The District will not tolerate any actions that jeopardize the safety of our students.
Upon learning of the incident, school and district administrators began an investigation. We are working closely and in full cooperation with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department to conduct a thorough and complete investigation.
Pending the outcome of the investigation, the District has directed that the school resource officer not return to any school in the District.
Online, the footage is going viral. Spring Valley High School began trending on Facebook Monday evening. People on Twitter began using the hashtag
#AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh to discuss the incident.
“There’s no excuse,” writes this Twitter user of the assault.
There were also tweets from users who claimed to be classmates of the girl in the video.
The girl in the video was new to our class, and she was quiet like she never talked to anyone
— Aaron Johnson (@Aaron___J) October 26, 2015
This Twitter user claims that this is not the first time Fields has been involved in an incident like this one.
Yes, Deputy Fields has done this numerous times. But this is the first time I’ve seen it captured on video and shared like this.
— ANM.❤️ (@FakeAsian__) October 26, 2015
Fields has run into legal trouble at work at least twice, BuzzFeed News reports, and is reportedly awaiting trial for a lawsuit that claims Fields “unfairly and recklessly targets African-American students with allegations of gang membership and criminal gang activity.”
Authorities have not yet named the student who was grabbed, slammed, and dragged. They also haven’t named a second student arrested during the incident, according to WIS-TV.
Tech Insider has reached out to Spring Valley High School and the Richland County Sheriff’s Department. We’ll update this post as soon as we hear back.
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