Outraged parents and students are demanding answers after a video showing a police officer dragging a student from her desk at Spring Valley High School in Richland County, South Carolina surfaced Monday.
The 15-second video was posted on social media just hours after the incident happened on Monday. It shows a white officer grabbing the black student by the arm as she sits in her desk. The officer pulls on her arm, moving the desk and the girl and then grabs hold of her shoulder and neck area. He turns over the desk, throwing it and the unnamed student to the ground. He then drags her toward the door, pulling the desk along with her and then throws her out of it before jumping on top of her to handcuff her as the video ends.
Sheriff Leon Lott told WIS-TV the officer was called because the student refused to leave class.
“The student was told she was under arrest for disturbing school and given instructions which she again refused,” Lott told the news station. “The video then shows the student resisting and being arrested by the SRO.”
The student has been arrested, according to the sheriff’s office.
In a second angle of the video, Fields can be heard telling another student, “I’ll put you in jail next.”
A third video, from yet another angle, was posted online by Reginald Seabrooks:
Fields is also a football coach at the school, according to his now-deleted Twitter account:
Fields has been sued twice in federal court during his time as a deputy, including one pending lawsuit filed by a Spring Valley High School student accusing him of unfairly targeting African-American students. Read about those lawsuits here.
The school district and the sheriff’s office are investigating the incident.
The district told WLTX-TV in a statement, “We are aware of an incident that occurred today at Spring Valley High School. Video of it has been posted on social media. The incident is under investigation. We are working closely with the sheriff’s department.”
Parents in a group called the Richland Two Black Parents Association told WIS-TV the video is “egregious and “unacceptable,” adding in a statement, “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.”
Read more about Deputy Ben Fields at the link below: