Officer tosses student across classroom floor
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.
In recorded images posted on social media, the deputy can be seen flipping the girl backward in her desk and tossing her across the classroom floor.
Federal help was sought by Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, who placed Senior Deputy Ben Fields on leave after the confrontation at Spring Valley High School in South Carolina.
Officials confirmed that Fields is white and the students are black, but said in an email to “keep in mind this is not a race issue.”
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 . . . I don’t ever recall a female student who is not of colour (being treated this way). It doesn’t affect white students,” Randolph said.
The sheriff’s department said no one was hurt during the confrontation, which was captured on cellphones by several students and posted online.
One student said it all started when the girl pulled out her cellphone and refused her math teacher’s request to hand it over during class.
During the moments captured on video, Fields can be seen standing over the girl, asking her to stand up. The girl remains seated and the officer wraps a forearm around her neck.
The desk then flips and the girl is slammed backward onto the floor, where the officer
tosses her toward the front of the classroom and handcuffs her.
A second student who verbally objected to the girl’s treatment also was arrested.