US cop under probe after video showing violent arrest of female student goes viral

Richland County Sheriff's Deputy Ben Fields is under investigation for his treatment of a female student during an arrest.
Richland County Sheriff's Deputy Ben Fields is under investigation for his treatment of a female student during an arrest.PHOTOS: SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE

SOUTH CAROLINA - The US authorities are investigating a police officer filmed on camera violently flinging a black female student across the classroom on Monday (Oct 26).

The officer, identified by CNN as Richland County Sheriff's Deputy Ben Fields, was called in to Columbia's Spring Valley High School to arrest the girl after she had been asked to leave the classroom but refused.

Fields was assigned as one of the school's resource officers, while the circumstances leading up to the incident are not clear.

The 15-second clip, which appeared to have been filmed by a fellow student on a phone camera, showed Fields grabbing the uncooperative girl and yanking her out of her chair in a room filled with students.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tq4BR5KHuqA

He then threw her to the front of the class, where she was handcuffed.

The Richland County Sheriff's Department has placed Fields on administrative leave pending the investigations, while a spokesman said Sheriff Leon Lott was "very disturbed" by the video.

The girl, who was arrested along with another female student, is facing a charge of disturbing schools. She was subsequently released to her parents after the incident.

Netizens reacted with shock and disgust at the brutality displayed by Fields as the video was widely circulated on Facebook. The hashtag #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh also became the top trending topic on Twitter in the US.

Fields' record as a police officer has been mixed. He was the subject of two lawsuits - the first for excessive force and battery in 2007, which was ruled in his favour, and the latest in 2013, when a student at the same school claimed Fields had accused him of being a gang member after being expelled.

A trial for the latter lawsuit has been scheduled for January 2016.

He received an award last year from an elementary school in the same district, where he was also assigned as a resource officer, for being an "exceptional role model to the students".