Authorities investigate video of police officer throwing student across classroom

27 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Authorities investigate video of police officer throwing student across classroom.

This disturbing video shows a high school officer flips a desk and the female student sitting in it over before dragging her violently across the classroom. Authorities in South Carolina say they are investigating a video that appears to show a police officer throwing a student out of a chair and across a classroom filled with students.

A video shared online on the afternoon of Oct. 26 is yet another reminder that the United States has a deep problem with police brutality, and particularly towards black citizens. Richland County Sheriff’s Department are investigating the incident after the footage – filmed at Spring Valley High School in Colombia, South Carolina – emerged on social media.

But before the student has a chance to react, the officer holds her by the neck and flips the furniture over, slamming the girl to the ground, as her classmates watch in horror. The officer involved will not return to any school in the district pending the outcome of the investigation, she said. “Student safety is and always will be the District’s top priority. Local television station, which published two videos (from two different perspectives) of the confrontation, reports that school officials and county sheriff Leon Lott have confirmed the incident took place in the school, and that Lott has said the officer was acting in response to the student’s refusal to leave the class. The video then shows the student resisting and being arrested by the SRO.” Why the student—who in available footage appears to be merely sitting at her desk—had to be thrown around her classroom by a much larger adult has yet to be explained.

Beyond performing duties for the sheriff’s department as the high school’s resource officer, Fields coaches the school varsity football team’s defensive line and strength training. But beyond racial disparities in police use of force, the incident reveals the kind of encounters that are more likely to happen as schools increasingly rely on police officers for discipline.

When lawmakers began enacting tough-on-crime policies in the 1970s and ’80s, some of the concepts trickled down to schools, which began outsourcing discipline to police through school resource officers and referrals to the juvenile justice system. The result has been a school-to-prison pipeline that acts as many kids’ first exposure to the criminal justice system — and it can lead to more interactions with the justice system later on, because the lost school time and bad marks on their records can make it much more difficult to get ahead. Boys with imprisoned fathers are much less likely to possess the behavioral skills needed to succeed in school by the age of 5, a study published in Sociological Science found. Black students with disabilities are almost three times as likely to experience out-of-school suspension or expulsion as their white counterparts, and twice as likely to experience in-school suspension or expulsion, according to a report from the National Center for Learning Disabilities.

About 70 percent of students involved in in-school arrests or referred to law enforcement are black or Hispanic, according to, which seeks to expose the issues with the school-to-prison pipeline. Researchers found that officers commonly dehumanized black people, and those who did were most likely to be the ones who had a record of using force on black children in custody. When cops used force on Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City, the question for many critics of police was how subconscious biases factored into the deadly encounters. For instance, Darren Wilson, the former Ferguson police officer who shot and killed Brown, described the black 18-year-old to a grand jury as a demon-like, dead-eyed giant who charged at him through a hail of gunfire — a callback to old racist tropes of “giant negroes” attacking police and innocent people.

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