Race, Social Justice

Reasons why the #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh is a sign things have to change

Another case of police brutality. It's time for things to change.

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:

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https://twitter.com/ShaunKing/status/658788324514091008

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https://twitter.com/ShaunKing/status/658766656768987136

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Asma Elgamal

Asma Elgamal

Asma Elgamal is our Head News + Society Editor at The Tempest. She's currently a student at Harvard University.

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