We’ve hesitated to pass judgment regarding the so-called #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh, the viral video in which a school resource officer at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, S.C. is seen violently arresting a female student, upending her desk and dragging her from the classroom.
The white officer certainly looks like he’s overreacting, quickly resorting to violence against a black high school girl. Just as President Obama raced to jump on the bandwagon and praise Ahmed Mohamed for his “cool clock,” there’s certainly no danger politically in vilifying the sheriff’s deputy, who almost certainly “acted stupidly.”
There is no excuse for violence inside a school. The #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh is unacceptable—schools should be safe places. -H
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 27, 2015
The #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh is shameful. Every child deserves a school where they are able to learn, grow, and feel safe.
— D Wasserman Schultz (@DWStweets) October 27, 2015
Students in the classroom shot video of the incident on their smartphones, and CNN is now reporting that, according to Sheriff Leon Lott, a third video clearly shows the student resisting.
In that video, he said, the student can be seen resisting.
“It showed the officer as he puts his hands on her, her punching him,” Lott said, adding that the student’s behavior doesn’t justify what happened after.
“Just because she was wrong in what she was doing doesn’t make what he was doing completely right also,” the sheriff said.
Sheriff Lott released a statement this afternoon via Facebook:
I have spoken with the FBI and U.S. Attorney William Nettles today as I travel back from Chicago. Their investigation has begun.
I have also consulted with Solicitor Dan Johnson and he agrees that the criminal investigation will be best served with the FBI as the lead agency. We do not want any issues with the community or those involved having questions concerning conflicts of interest in this investigation. SLED has been requested by the school board of Richland 2 and individual legislators to also look into the matter. Solicitor Johnson and I have no issues with SLED assisting the FBI and U.S. Attorney. A complete and thorough investigation is what we both want, as well as the public.
Much less helpful to know: MSNBC contributes that Sheriff’s Deputy Ben Fields, the officer appearing in the video, reportedly has been dating a black woman for some time.
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) October 27, 2015
— Charlotte Dobson (@footballqueen52) October 27, 2015
@MSNBC better warn her about his violent temper then, in case she doesn't watch the news
— Bert Russell Terrier (@BeRusTerr) October 27, 2015
What would be helpful would be seeing the third video and if it does show the girl resisting arrest. As Wasserman-Schultz tweeted, classrooms should be places where students can learn and feel safe, and another student disrupting class to the point where police become involved creates neither of those conditions for the other students.
* * *
Update: Let the record show that Joan Walsh takes issue with the sheriff’s description of Fields’ girlfriend as a “female.”
— Joan Walsh (@joanwalsh) October 27, 2015