A video of a Columbia, South Carolina high school police officer brutally assaulting a quiet, seated 15-year-old student is quickly going viral on social media.
In the video, Officer Ben Fields, who patrols Spring Valley High School, is seen accosting a seated student, yanking on her arm to make her stand up. When she refuses, Officer Fields lifts her and the desk into the air, slams the student on her back, drags her to the front of the classroom, and tells her to put her hands behind her back.
In a statement to local media, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said that Officer Ben Fields, who is Spring Valley’s official School Resource Officer (SRO), was responding 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 told Live5News.com. “The video then shows the student resisting and being arrested by the SRO.”
A local group called the Richland Two Black Parents Association have also released a statement in response to the video, condemning Officer Fields’ actions.
“Parents are heartbroken as this is just another example of the intolerance that continues to be of issue in Richland School District Two particularly with families and children of color. As we have stated in the past, we stand ready to work in collaboration to address these horrible acts of violence and inequities among our children,” the statement read.
New York Daily News senior justice writer Shaun King, who originally tweeted the video, said students who surreptitiously recorded Officer Ben Fields’ brutality said he was widely known as abusive throughout the school.