South Carolina Officer Placed On Administrative Leave After Violent Arrest At School Is Posted On YouTube

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 7.13.14 AMThe 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.

benfieldsFields, 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?

420 thoughts on “South Carolina Officer Placed On Administrative Leave After Violent Arrest At School Is Posted On YouTube”

  1. When did the “no cell phones in class” rule change? When my kids were in HS– not very long ago– cell phones had to be in locked lockers or they would be confiscated by the teacher and given back at the end of the day.
    That being said, this officer was a terrible role model for conflict resolution. Must teach kids that when they grow up, being a bully is not the way to get what they want. This officer taught the opposite… that might makes right.

  2. Po … I have already said that what this SRO did was relatively minor compared to how it wold have been handled in my day back in the Jurassic period. You just did NOT resist repeatedly verbally or physically to authority, be it teacher or cop. Funny how we all seemed safer overall back then. Even sown on the block you were careful with your words and actions…today everyone seems to think they have the “right” to just be obnoxious and at will to boot. One of many reasons I skip all malls…the kids with loud mouths and physical jostling…the later never works out well for me. Don’t go and don’t deal with it…simple.

  3. I was never struck by my parents nor did I ever strike my own kid. What did happen was they, and I, insisted the kid pay attention to the world around them and how others treat people and get treated in return. Didn’t take too long for the negatives of a smart mouth and intransigence in the face of legitimate authority, such as a teacher or a uniform & badge, to be learned from others we watched, or interacted with as peers on the block, where the fat lip scenario played out occasionally…you always lose. No one wants to lose.

    1. No doubt, Ari, but in a vacuum, there are always attenuating circumstances.
      Part of being a better human being is to give others the benefit of the doubt. Most reactions, especially violent reactions are merely satisfying one’s ego, and that is an expression of dysfunction. How do you think things would have gone had the cop asked the girl, nicely, gently: “what’s going on? are you okay? do you wanna talk?”
      And even if violence ends up justified (not in this case however), it should be escalating, not full blown from the start.
      contrast that behavior to this:

  4. Po … plainly we grew up in different eras. I’d never have had the problem with a parent because I knew better than to challenge or provoke them. I didn’t have the problem with my own kid either. But, no doubt about it I learned, what “consequences” meant in school and on the block where familial ties didn’t exist. Run off at the mouth…WHAP! Same rules were for everyone, funny how we all survived. One doesn’t stay with mommy and daddy forever, so it helps to learn how to deal with others civilly early. Not to mention how to handle the uncivil as well.

    1. Ari, I took grew up in an era and a locale where getting a slap in the mouth was a perfectly normal way to be taught a lesson. I started doing that to my own kids, until I realized I did not want them to be as traumatized as I was.
      Logic, morality, science and religion tells us that there is nothing good to be gained in slapping a kid around, and even less to be gained by empowering a large cop to slam a child on the concrete as if he was on a WWF ring.
      Out of uniform, he would be jailed, in uniform, he is justified?

  5. She was breaking the law by not listing the cop. I’m not saying the cop was right, or wrong in doing what he did. I feel that kid should never be allowed in a class room again to disrupt the students that are there to learn. At least not until she learns to respect the teacher, her classmates, and other people. She should be home schooled, or sent to a school that is for kids that have her kind of problems. Also, I think she needs help now, before she gets too old, and lands herself in jail. I wish there were more help out there for kids like her.

  6. One simple rule applies: immediate action to remove a trouble maker gives far less impetus for others to object. Let it drag on and you have no control.

    That said, I know it is impossible today…even simple manners on the street is a lost art. Glad I am old.

  7. Paul C… … you’d have been standing there a long time waiting for her to hand over her phone…presuming, and it is a presumption, that anyone else would “shame” her. A better solution would have been to just yank her butt out of the classroom on the first disobedience…that is how it used to be…how did we ever survive? When did it become a case of testing testing testing until something happens? As I’ve said: Boo Hoo for the poor little lady.

    1. Aridog – you don’t get to touch them anymore. And you would be surprised what public shaming will do in a classroom. The important thing is that the teacher does not do it. And once you get the phone you immediately start the lesson for the day. Personally, I don’t think I have ever waited more than a minute or two.

  8. Paul C… I asked for details on just how the teacher or any one else in authority could have physically “confiscated” her cell phone. She resisted leaving and I am fairly confident she’d have physically resisted the taking of her cell phone. So how is that not a big deal?

    Doesn’t matter to me…I don’t care anymore. Thump. Thump. Works for me. Back when and now. Had I been that SRO I’d have told the teacher to kiss off and deal with it her/himself. Then go had a sandwich. It’s the new order of the world.

    1. Aridog – I answered that question. But I am not sure where the answer is now. One is at 9:09am. An expanded one is yesterday.

  9. I’d be particularly interested in just how the teacher or authority SRO could have just “confiscated the cell phone”, as suggested earlier, without a similar dust up? Does anyone think the young lady would have just handed it over? Cell phones as a RIGHT! Hoo Yaa!

    1. Aridog – the teacher could have confiscated the cell phone, it is not that big a deal. However, the job of the SRO was to remove her from the classroom.

  10. Max-1 & Po …Boo Hoo.

    Po … just how would YOU, specifically, have handled that 16 year old if you were the teacher or the authority? Details on your technique, please. Include how you’d have known of the girl’s recent trauma…and somehow how that justified her disobedient conduct? I’ll listen.

    1. Ari, whatever method I would have used would not have involved slamming her on the ground, and would not have been violent.
      If I don’t slam my own kid around, how would I ever justify slamming someone’s kid around? By claiming that as a cop I am empowered to?
      I’d use words, and patience and care.
      All of which we direly need today.

  11. Hi ever body this really hurt me to see a child disrespect people that where there to serve her and other students when all she should have done was do what the teacher asked her to do was to put away her cell phone she did not submit so the teacher so the teacher had to do what he thought was the right thing to do but unfortunately when the officer got there things escalated and after warning her to put the phone down the police used excessive force which ended up negatively I wish that the police had thought more about how he should have handled the situation and then he would still have his job this young lady was clearly wrong these where people that where Authority over her and she should have been taught to respect authority also I’m a school bus driver I have drove for different ages and I never had to deal with a child that went word for word with me or tell me what they where not going to do I followed protocol and I thank god I didn’t have to deal with disrupted children like that but I pray that the police man can forgive her and the young lady can forgive him please stop the evil that going on there’s know place for it keep your minds on the lord and he will direct you both learn to fine peace not hate if you can love your self you can fine love for your fellow man god bless every body !

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