Caught on video: police officer brutally attacks Black student in her classroom.
Yesterday, a school police officer in South Carolina was caught on video brutally attacking a Black female high school student as she sits in her classroom. It has to be seen to be believed.
Officer Fields has a history of attacking students, who say they’ve complained about him for years.1 This time, his violence was caught on camera, and it's clearly unnecessary, malicious, and brutal.
Local police have asked the FBI and DOJ to investigate.2 But the videos of what happened provide more than enough evidence for local authorities to immediately fire Fields, arrest him, and prosecute him.
Join us in demanding that officer Fields be fired and prosecuted immediately, and that all charges are dropped against students already victimized by Fields.
Once you’ve signed the petition, please ask your friends and family to do the same.
Officer Fields is already facing a lawsuit from another student who says Fields targets Black students with false allegations of gang activity. Fields was also sued by a couple who say he viciously attacked and arrested them without provocation, kicking the man as he lay on the ground and emptying a bottle of pepper spray into his face.3
Students at the school say they are afraid of Fields, a bodybuilder who can lift hundreds of pounds, and who has often attacked and intimidated students. One student said on social media that she once witnessed Fields “slamming” a pregnant woman.4
Tony Robinson, the student who shot the video of this incident, says that the girl who Fields violently arrested had done nothing wrong. Robinson says she took out her cell phone for a minute during class, and a teacher asked her for it. She refused to give the teacher the phone, and the teacher called the vice principle. The vice principal asked the student to leave, and she refused, but she was very apologetic. The vice principle then called the police officer, who confronted the student and escalated the situation — and that’s when Robinson started taking video on his cell phone.5
It's a perfect example of the school to prison pipeline that thwarts the education of Black children and criminalizes them unnecessarily. Over the last few decades, the number of police in schools has skyrocketed. Every year, thousands of students — a disproportionate number of them Black — are needlessly arrested and abused for simply being kids.
The student attacked by officer Fields has now been charged with "disturbing schools," a crime punishable by up to 90 days in jail or a thousand dollar fine.6 Another student who shot one of the videos was also charged, and she says she was arrested just for standing up for her classmate.7 Meanwhile, officer Fields — whose violence not only victimized one student, but also disrupted and traumatized an entire classroom — still has his job and is still being paid.
It's outrageous. If enough of us speak out, we can shine a spotlight on local authorities that will create massive pressure for them to hold officer Fields accountable. But we need to act now, before the media moves on to the next story and we’re left to wait for an "investigation" that goes nowhere.
Join us in demanding accountability for officer Fields, and justice for the students he abused. And please ask your friends and family to do the same.
Thanks and Peace,
Rashad, Arisha, Scott, Lyla and the rest of the ColorOfChange team.
1. “Deputy Ben Fields: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know,” Heavy, 10-26-2015
2. “FBI investigation sought in S.C. school incident caught on video,” USA Today, 10-27-2015
3. See reference 1.
4. See reference 1.
5. “Watch: Student Who Filmed Officer Dragging Girl Asks, How Did A Cop 'Let It Get To That Point?',” New Civil Rights Movement, 10-27-2015
6. “Outrage grows after South Carolina officer throws student in classroom,” CNN, 10-27-2015
7. “Student Arrested Says She Was Standing Up for Classmate,” WLTX, 10-27-2015