Student’s violent arrest caught on video; officer under investigation

27 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Deputy on leave after video from classroom surfaces.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina school district banned a school resource officer pending an investigation after a video surfaced Monday showing him tossing a student across a classroom floor.Ben Fields, the Richland county sheriff’s deputy caught on video violently manhandling a high school student in, has been placed on administrative leave while the sheriff’s department investigates the case, The Guardian reports.

When she refuses to leave her seat in a classroom at Spring Valley High, he tells her: “I’ll make you.” He wraps his arm around her neck, flips her desk backward, then drags her across the floor. The officer, identified by The State newspaper as Richland County Sheriff’s Department Senior Deputy Ben Fields, will continue to work at the department during the investigation, but will not perform duties at area schools. A spokeswoman for the school district, Libby Roof, said on Monday night that the administration was “deeply concerned”. “We are investigating it, along with the sheriff’s office,” she said.

Some of those parents, like Gilchrist, are not surprised by Fields’ show of strength and believe it’s tied to disparity between the district’s African-American and white students. “I could not believe that in a public school in America, that we have people who are there to protect our students creating more anarchy than anything we’ve ever seen,” Gilchrist told the Daily News. “Unfortunately, in this school district, this has become more of a … normal thing.” Sheriff Leon Lott “was disturbed by what he saw,” Lt. The group now has 5,700 members. “It’s crazy, man,” Gilchrist said. “We formed because it was so obvious the white parents were getting the best access and opportunities. In a statement, the Richland Black Parents Association said they were “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.” In 2005, as a rookie, Fields brutally arrested an Army medic, Thomas Martin, stationed at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, while he was still in uniform. “I recognized him on the spot.

But we are a community of black parents who want to get involved,” Gilchrist said. “The problem is widespread.” Fields has a history of alleged aggression during arrests. It’s there Principal Karen Beaman gave Fields the Culture of Excellence Award in 2014 for being an “exceptional role model to the students he serves and protects.” A former Spring Valley student accused Fields of harboring a racial bias in the past. According to federal court papers a man named Carlos Martin sued Fields for pepper spraying him and roughing up his wife after he pulled his car into a parking lot playing loud music. That student is suing the 11-year Richland County veteran for targeting black students — who make up 52% of the student body. “Fields unfairly and recklessly targets African-American students with allegations of gang membership and criminal gang activity,” attorney Reginald Lloyd wrote in a filing last year.

Martin’s then-wife, Tashiana Rogers, was taking pictures on her cellphone, which Fields grabbed: A civil rights violations lawsuit filed against Fields only to be dismissed over difficulties proving excessive force. “I felt like if he had felt the consequences from 2005, this wouldn’t happen today,” Martin’s wife, Rogers, said. Debbie Hamm issued a statement to WLTX19, ordering that Fields not return to any school in the district pending the results of the investigations into his actions. The speed of demographic change in the school system surprised the entire community — parents, administrators, voters — and led to conflict among black and white groups.

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