‘Disturbing’ arrest of black S. Carolina student sparks federal, local probes

28 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Manhandling of S.C. student part of wider discipline problem, parents say.

Some parents of students at Spring Valley High School say they were saddened but not surprised by a video showing a school resource officer getting into an intense confrontation with a student.

U.S. federal authorities said yesterday they are investigating whether a deputy’s arrest of a student who refused to leave her high school math class violated federal civil rights laws.The Richland County sheriff is reviewing a third video, shot from a different angle, as more students speak out about the disturbing scene of a police officer body-slamming a 16-year-old female student at a South Carolina high school. A group calling themselves the Richland Two Black Parents Association has called for a Justice Department investigation into what they say are long-standing discriminatory practices by the school district.

Sheriff Leon Lott claims the new video shows the female student hitting Senior Deputy Ben Fields before he pulls her to the ground and drags her across the floor. To what “unsettling national discussion” have the videos of a white sheriff’s deputy throwing a black high school girl to the floor of a classroom contributed? 3. South Carolina’s National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People president, Lonnie Randolph Jr., denied that, saying “race is indeed a factor.” “To be thrown out of her seat as she was thrown, and dumped on the floor . . .

Another attendee, who acknowledged that she knows Fields and was surprised by the video, told the board, “That child in the classroom was given ample opportunity to comply,” adding later, “She chose to be defiant.” On Tuesday, Lott said that he’s not analyzing the student’s behavior — only his officer’s response. He also said that he doubts whether race played a role in the incident, noting that Fields “has been dating an African-American woman for ‘quite some time,’ ” as the AP reports. Rebecca Woodford, a mother of Spring Valley students, told local WSPA news: “My daughters all love him.” Woodford insisted the incident was not racially related, although many white and black complainants at the hearing argued it was. “This is not a race issue,” she said. “This deputy is actually dating a black woman.” County resident Kyle Lacio told the local outlet he believed the opposite: “If that was a white girl sitting there at the desk, whatever the situation was, you wouldn’t have seen her being thrown across the room.” “The amount of force used on a female student by a male officer appears to me to be excessive and unnecessary,” Manning said. — Last year, the Obama administration issued guidelines advising schools to create more positive climates, set clear expectations and consequences for students, and ensure equity in discipline.

Yet a recent analysis of federal data identified districts in 13 Southern states where black students are suspended or expelled at rates overwhelmingly higher than white children. Hamm also released a statement, saying the district is “deeply concerned” and “student safety is and always will be the district’s top priority. Kenny shot one of the two initial videos. “I just told my class, ya’ll get ya’ll’s cameras out,” Kenny explained. “Because, like, we already know his reputation. The most recent case, set for trial in January, stems from a 2013 complaint that he “unfairly and recklessly targets African-American students with allegations of gang membership and criminal gang activity.” A previous case from 2007 was settled in Fields’s favor. The district will not tolerate any actions that jeopardize the safety of our students.” Lott told reporters he “wanted to throw up” after watching the video, but added that he doubted any racial element to the incident, in part because Fields has dated an African American woman for “quite some time”.

He was known as ‘Officer Slam.'” Fields was called into the classroom when the student in the video refused a teacher’s request to go to the disciplinary office. Comey, waded into a deeply controversial issue last week, suggesting that intense scrutiny of police officers in “the era of viral videos” could be a reason for an increase in violent crime. This week, the White House said that it did not agree. “I spoke to officers privately in one big city precinct who described being surrounded by young people with mobile phone cameras held high, taunting them the moment they get out of their cars,” Mr. Comey said. “They told me, ‘We feel like we’re under siege and we don’t feel much like getting out of our cars.’ ” Many have called it “the Ferguson effect,” referring to the protests that erupted in the summer of 2014 after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Mo. But this explanation for a crime increase has been criticized because it can be seen as suggesting that those who protest police tactics are in part to blame for violent crime.

Our partners
Follow us
Contact us
Our contacts

About this site