The full video of the Spring Valley High School Police Officer brutally assaulting a peaceful student. pic.twitter.com/oHIS8GrtSS
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) October 26, 2015
Again, South Carolina makes national news, and again, it’s in a bad way.
It’s early in the discernment process, and we lack any context (whatever the context may be), but the extremely brief video is a kick in the gut, especially the instant when the desk flips backward in a way that almost seems to defy physical laws. It’s amazing that the student wasn’t injured, a fact we can only chalk up to the resilience of youth.
Here, from The State, are the skimpy facts, which tell us next to nothing:
The Richland County Sheriff’s Department is investigating an incident between a school resource officer and a female student at Spring Valley High School on Monday, after a video showing a confrontation was posted online.
The female student and a male student were arrested for disturbing the peace, said Richland County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Lt. Curtis Wilson. The resource officer, Senior Deputy Ben Fields, has been placed on administrative duties with pay pending the investigation’s results, according to Wilson.
While Fields will work at the Sheriff’s Department, he won’t be performing any duties at area schools. In a statement, the Richland 2 school district said it had “directed the school resource officer not return to any school in the district.”
The video shows Fields approach the female student seated in a desk. The resource officer proceeds to place his left hand on the female student’s left arm, before putting his right arm around her neck. Fields then flips the desk over, with the student still seated, before spinning it around and forcibly removing the student and trying to restrain her at the front of the classroom.
Wilson said no one was injured in the incident – neither the students nor Fields.
Wilson said prior to what is shown in the video, the female student was asked to leave the classroom and refused. Wilson said that was when the resource officer was called in….
The official response to the incident seems appropriately cautious so far. The sheriff is out of town. The mayor wants an independent investigation. The school district’s one response, saying it doesn’t want that officer back in the classroom, seems appropriate under the circumstances.
All we have now is a video that shocks the viewer as much as it seems to have shocked the bystanders, who react not at all — their stillness is almost eerie — except for the one who shot these 15 seconds.