Shaun King, a leading activist for the Black Lives Matter movement, posted this video to his Facebook page of Officer Ben Fields assaulting a female black student at Spring Valley High School, located in Columbia, South Carolina.
Another video from the same incident has surfaced in which a student can be heard saying “what the f***?” to which Officer Fields replies “I’ll put you in jail next” (1:22-1:26).
Shaun King also reported in a comment beneath the original video: “Over a dozen students and graduates have told me that Officer Ben Fields is known for his brutality and that he’s built like a bodybuilder. Students were scared to death that they’d be next.”
Student Aaron Johnson, who was present during the incident, reports via his Twitter that the student was “new,” “never talked to anyone,” and that she “did nothing to provoke the officer”. Johnson also sent a Direct Message around 6:45 PM to reporter Jordan Sargent of Gawker the following description:
“The girl was asked by the teacher Mr. Long to leave the classroom and go to the discipline office, she ignored him, then an administrator came in and asked her if he needed to get the resource officer. She ignored him and then the officer came in. He asked if she was gonna go or if he had to make her go. Then he grabbed her and pulled her out of her desk and she fell on the ground with the desk still on her. He then threw her across the room and then got on top of her. Another student tried to stand up for her, which also led to her arrest.”
How on earth the situation could have escalated to such a level?
My initial reaction to seeing this on my Facebook feed was to gasp. My hand flew to my mouth, my eyes got very wide, and my eyebrows practically disappeared into my hairline. I’ve watched it again several times, and my reaction remains the same – a tightening in my stomach and a feeling of horror. I cannot imagine being in that classroom, terrified and unable to help my peer out of paralyzing fear for my own safety.
People are now speaking out on the incident:
— Sam White (@samwhiteout) October 26, 2015
There is no "context" that justifies a grown man slamming a child around in a classroom like that. None. #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh
— Ryan Dalton (@capetownbrown) October 26, 2015
You will not justify the #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh. You cannot and you will not. If u c that vid&aren't appalled, u r a despicable person.
— Treva Lindsey (@divafeminist) October 26, 2015
Black children aren't children, Black girls aren't girls. #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh
— Jamilah Lemieux (@JamilahLemieux) October 26, 2015
y'all defended a cop dragging a girl at a pool party when she didn't resist & now y'all are doing it again #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh
— kathy (@godlykuthy) October 26, 2015
How long will it take for Officer Fields to say that he "feared for his life," which caused him to assault her? #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh
— deray mckesson (@deray) October 26, 2015
So a CHILD/teen girl refusing to leave class = A body slam with a desk + being thrown across the room = POLICING? #AssaultAtSpringValleyHIgh
— Tari (@tarilove_) October 26, 2015
If you think "she must've done something", you're part of the problem. Beating an HS kid is never okay. #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh
— Mexican Rug Dealer (@MikeElChingon) October 26, 2015
Imagine how many black children will now have a fear of "Am I next?" after watching the video. #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh
— Hands Up United (@handsupunited_) October 27, 2015
The little girl will now be traumatized forever from that officer. #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh
— Hands Up United (@handsupunited_) October 27, 2015
— Aaron Johnson (@Aaron___J) October 26, 2015
Just to be clear, before the video, she was sitting quietly at her desk. Did nothing to provoke the officer
— Aaron Johnson (@Aaron___J) October 27, 2015
— Samuel Sinyangwe (@samswey) October 26, 2015
And this poor baby. She is not making a sound. I can not imagine what her thoughts were before, during or after this officer brutalized her.
— Johnetta Elzie (@Nettaaaaaaaa) October 26, 2015
#AssaultAtSpringvalleyHigh so now sitting while black is a crime
— Harold Itzkowitz (@HaroldItz) October 27, 2015
Yes, Deputy Fields has done this numerous times. But this is the first time I've seen it captured on video and shared like this.
— ANM.❤️ (@FakeAsian__) October 26, 2015
If you can't handle a 15 yr old girl without resorting to violence you don't deserve your job. #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh
— Kinaya Bryant (@supermishelle) October 27, 2015
As if there's a justifiable reason this female child should be body-slammed & thrown across the room?! #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh
— Alexis Maurice (@_alexisMAURICE) October 27, 2015
— lola (@lolaatimaa) October 27, 2015
When your first response to the video of the officer is "What did she do?" you're already on the wrong foot. #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh
— Keith D. Garcia (@kgarcia_sa) October 27, 2015
School to prison pipeline…without the pipeline. It has to be dismantled. https://t.co/oqr4DH058T
— Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports) October 27, 2015
Screw that 'we haven't heard the whole story' crap. Unless she had a cruise missile on her, I've seen enough. #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh
— John (@linnyitssn) October 27, 2015
If her parent had slung her across the room like that, we'd call it child abuse and someone would be in jail. #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh
— Gieselle (@bgieselle) October 27, 2015
During slavery Black folks were lynched for reading. Today a Black girl was brutalized for sitting at her desk. #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh
— Brotha B (@BlakeDontCrack) October 26, 2015
— rebecca k. (@becathist) October 26, 2015
There was no need for an SRO to use force against someone half his size. #assaultatspringvalleyhigh
— Janan Graham-Russell (@jananamirah) October 26, 2015
@WriterFeministX This is her first encounter with law enforcement, this is how they teach our children that their bodies are disposable.
— Harriet Thugman (@Wicked_Womanist) October 26, 2015