Today, the officer was fired!
Richland County Senior Deputy Ben Fields was told of his firing late Wednesday morning, Sheriff Leon Lott said. Lott said he would not describe the now-former resource officer at Spring Valley High School as remorseful, but that Fields was sorry the incident happened and tried to do his job.
UPDATE #1: CNN reports:
One of the videos from inside the math classroom at Spring Valley High School shows the student resisting, according to Lott.
“When the officer puts his hands on her initially, she reaches up and she pops the officer with her fist,” he said.
Yet, the officer has been suspended without pay.
I heard about this interaction in a school classroom today — about the policeman’s unjustified use of force and cruelty against a student who refused to move out of the class. Apparently, a teacher requested her to leave and she wouldn’t leave. Then, an administrator asked the student to leave. No dice. Finally, local law enforcement was called to the scene, when an office forcibly removed her from her chair, put her in handcuffs, and took her away. Though no one was hurt, social media was abuzz about the brutality, yet another example of a cop abusing an African American. Plus, the FBI and Department of Justice might investigate. With all of this, I was surprised when I actually saw the video:
David French put it best:
After watching and re-watching the incident, I keep coming to the same conclusion: This is what happens when a person resists a lawful order from a police officer to move. Unless the school is willing to have one student commandeer the classroom indefinitely, the officer has few options beyond physical force — and the use of physical force is rarely pretty to see. In this instance, the use of force was decisive, brief, and did not physically harm the student.
I’ve known multiple public-school teachers who were grateful for police assistance after spending years getting punched, kicked, bitten, and otherwise physically abused by their students. I distinctly remember seeing my own teachers tossed around like rag dolls by angry students during raging hallway brawls. At some schools, even small children will attack and harm their teachers.
This summer I was driving home and stopped my Honda Pilot when a rather large woman running away from the police ran in front of my vehicle. When she was detained, it looked a lot like this. Why? It’s just not easy to get physically uncooperative people to do what they need to do. David concludes:
The arrested student at Spring Valley High School should have left her seat when her teacher demanded that she leave. She should have left when the administrator made the same demand. She should have left when Fields made his first, polite requests. She had no right to stay. She had no right to end classroom instruction with her defiance. Fields was right to move her, and he did so without hurting her. The fact that the incident didn’t look good on camera doesn’t make his actions wrong. Unless additional evidence emerges, the Spring Valley video is going viral for all the wrong reasons.