School Resource Officer Body Slams Unruly Student, Everyone Rushes To Judgment; UPDATE: Officer Has Been Fired

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Oct 28, 2015 11:30 AM
School Resource Officer Body Slams Unruly Student, Everyone Rushes To Judgment; UPDATE: Officer Has Been Fired

UPDATE: Over at National Review, David French wrote that just because the video looks bad, doesn't' mean "the actions were wrong." He also said that this whole incident is "remarkably short and devoid of context" and becoming another example when the general public rushes to judgement. We need to know more. 

UPDATE II: Well, so much for not rushing, I guess. Officer Fields has been fired, according to NBC News.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said an internal investigation over the Monday incident at Spring Valley High School in Columbia focused on whether Senior Deputy Ben Fields had violated the department's policies.

He said at a news conference that the department looked at cellphone videos taken from the classroom and interviews with witnesses, and concluded that the maneuvers he used in the confrontation were "not acceptable."

"From the very beginning that's what's caused me to be upset, and (which) continued to upset me is that he picked the student up and threw the student across the room," Lott said.

"Deputy Ben Fields did wrong this past Monday," he added.

The news agency added that the FBI and state law enforcement investigations into this incident are still ongoing.

**Original Post**

All eyes have shifted to South Carolina, where Ben Fields, a school resource officer at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, has been placed on leave after a video showed him body slamming a female student in order to make an arrest. The student reportedly refused to leave the classroom. The FBI has opened an investigation into this incident, the Democratic 2016 candidates had something to say about the matter, and everyone appears to be rushing to judgment. Yet, before we get further carried away by this vicious cycle, we should wait until more details are released. All we know is that the student in question was causing a disturbance, was asked to leave, and refused.

The local sheriff said there is video of the student swinging at the officer. That changes the whole picture entirely, but, again, we have to wait and see. CNN reported that Fields has a good relationship with the student body, winning a “Culture of Excellence Award by a Richland County elementary school.” The news agency added that Fields has faced lawsuits during his career. One of which alleges that he used excessive force, though the jury sided with Fields. Nevertheless, even the kids who took the video noted two things about Officer Fields a) he’s a good guy and b) he’s not a racist:

Reginald Seabrooks, one of the students who captured the incident on video, added this comment to his YouTube posting:

"The officer in this is a cool dude, he is not Racist!!!. Girl was asked her to put the phone away, but told teacher no and Administrator was called and asked her to come to his office. She told him no, he then called the resource officer. When he got there he asked her nicely to get up. Over and over he did nothing wrong. They asked her to get up but she wanted to show off. To some it looks bad but she wanted to prove that she was bad."

CNN confirmed with father Reginald Sr., that these are his son's words. He also told CNN that Fields was at one point his son's football coach.

Granted, even if he’s a good guy, it wouldn’t excuse him for using such force without justifiable cause (like hitting). Again, we need to know more, which is something that Don Lemon noted, which seemed to have gotten under the skin of his colleague, Sunny Hostin, a former prosecutor and CNN’s legal analyst:

Now, if this student did hit the officer and resist arrest, then the use of force captured on video was justified. Former NYPD detective Harry Houck noted that when someone resists arrest, “The officer can use whatever force is necessary to affect an arrest.” For now, we should all withhold judgment until the investigation is over. The female student in the video wasn't injured during the confrontation.