Sheriff Says Third Video Shows South Carolina Student Punching Officer in …

28 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Deputy who threw South Carolina student in class is under federal investigation.

A South Carolina sheriff said Tuesday that there is a third video depicting one of his officers in a now viral confrontation with a high school student — and in it, he says the student can be seen attacking the officer. “There’s a video … showed her striking and punching at the officer,” Richard County Sheriff Leon Lott told CNN. ”Again, our hope would have been that he could have de-escalated the situation without getting physical.” “It’s not one I have, it’s another student in the class, was shooting it from a different angle,” he said. “It shows the officer as he puts his hands on her, her punching him. But again, that doesn’t justify some of the actions.” Resource officer Ben Fields was put under investigation by his department Monday after video captured him aggressively confront a student who “refused” to cooperate when told she was under arrest. The FBI, the Justice Department and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division announced they will decide whether criminal charges would be pressed against the deputy, whose actions were caught on cellphone video. At an afternoon news conference, Lott called the video of the Monday confrontation between Senior Deputy Ben Fields and the student “disturbing,” but said he did not think race played a role.

Officials said the confrontation at Spring Valley High School in Columbia happened Monday after the student refused the officer’s order to leave the classroom for being disruptive. But that’s just a snapshot.” Lott also said he doesn’t believe race was also a factor in what happened — and noted that Fields has been dating an African-American woman for “quite some time.” Lott said they’re looking at the videos taken by students inside the class and conducting interviews with the witnesses to determine whether the officer should have escalated the situation with physical force.

A teacher had complained that the student, who has not been identified, was being unruly during class and refused to leave even after an administrator was called in. “The student was wrong in what she did — she disrupted class, she was disturbing the others students from getting an education. On Tuesday, educators, activists and some politicians condemned the confrontation, which raised questions about the disciplinary role of police officers in schools. “I think sometimes our officers are put in uncomfortable positions when a teacher can’t control a student,” said Lott, adding that his office will also look at when it is proper to call in a resource officer. “That is something for the district to answer,” Lott said. “Is it proper to call in a resources officer to discipline a student or is that the job of the school?” The girl, who was not identified, was charged under the state’s disturbing schools law, a misdemeanor that allows police to arrest a student for disrupting class or school functions. But does her actions meet the level of what this officer did?” Lott asked. “That’s what we’re going to decide.” Fields in the videos shared on social media stands in front of the student, and orders her to stand up or be forcibly removed.

James Manning, chairman of the school district’s board of trustees, said in a statement: “The amount of force used on a female student by a male officer appears to me to be excessive and unnecessary. At an earlier news conference, school district officials Tuesday blasted Fields’ actions, calling them “outrageous” and “reprehensible,” and the video itself “shamefully shocking.” Schools Superintendent Debbie Hamm said the district is strengthening its training efforts with school resource officers to ensure such an incident doesn’t happen again. As the parent of a daughter in Richland School District Two, I can assure you that we are taking this matter very seriously.” “I know this girl don’t got nobody and I couldn’t believe this was happening,” Kenny said. “I had never seen nothing like that in my life, a man use that much force on a little girl.” Kenny added: “I was screaming, ‘What the [hell], what the [hell], is this really happening?’ I was praying out loud for the girl. Reaction over the video has been swift, and members of the group the Richland Two Black Parents Association called the officers’ actions “unacceptable,” reported NBC affiliate WIS. The student also told the deputy that she had not done anything wrong, said Robinson, who added of the ensuing struggle: “I’ve never seen anything so nasty looking, so sick to the point that, you know, other students are turning away, don’t know what to do, and are just scared for their lives.” “This type of brutal treatment is completely unjustified, irrespective of the student’s actions leading to the involvement of the [school resource officer],” the ACLU chapter wrote.

She says it’s vital that students have respect for law enforcement, but also equally important that law enforcement ensure they do not abuse the power and trust school districts instill in them. Justice Department spokeswoman Dena Iverson said the investigation will look into “the circumstances surrounding the arrest” and determine if a federal law was broken. In 2010, federal court records show a jury sided with Fields after a black couple accused Fields of excessive force and battery during a 2005 noise complaint arrest in Columbia. In a third lawsuit, a woman who reported suspicion of child abuse accused Fields and another deputy of battery and violating her rights during a 2006 arrest.

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