Update the Officer was terminated.
The video below has caused a public outcry after a South Carolina school resource officer identified as Richland County Sheriff’s Department Senior Deputy Ben Fields is shown tossing a female high school student to the floor and dragging her from a classroom after she refused to get up and leave with him. Fields has been placed on paid administrative leave.
Fields, shown right from a Twitter photo, was reportedly called in because the student would not get off her cellphone or leave the class as instructed. The 15-second video shows Fields asking the student “Are You Coming With Me or am I Going to Make You? Come on. I’m going to get you up.” What follows is the scuffle where the student ends up on the floor and being pulled by Fields. Fields is heard saying “I’ll put you in jail next.”
The site Heavy has reported that Fields in the subject of a lawsuit alleging violations of the civil rights of a student at Spring Valley High School. The student, Ashton James Reese, was expelled in 2013 from the high school for “unlawful assembly of gang activity and assault and battery” and was also accused of participating in a “gang related” fight in a Walmart parking lot near the school. In the lawsuit, he is accused of “recklessly target[ing] African-American students with allegations of gang membership and criminal gang activity.”
The Columbia mayor has denounced Fields and said “We cannot and will not accept this kind of behavior from any law enforcement officer and I firmly believe that we need an independent investigation to get to the bottom of this incident and see that justice is done.”
Given that this was all about cellphone use, is there any justification for this level of force in your view?