An investigation has begun into an intense video showing a police officer bodyslamming a female student at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, S.C.
According to local officials, the incident occurred on Monday when the school's resource officer, Sr. Dpt. Ben Fields, 34, confronted the unidentified student for refusing to leave her classroom.
"The student was told she was under arrest for disturbing school and given instructions which she again refused," Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott told WISTV. "The video then shows the student resisting and being arrested."
In the brief video, Fields tells the girl, "either you're coming with me or I'll make you." When she does not comply, the officer grabs her arm before putting his arm around her neck, tossing the student out of the desk and onto the ground. Fields can then be seen dragging the girl across the room, pinning her down with her arms behind her back. Students in the foreground sit silently as the incident occurred.
On Tuesday, Tony Robinson Jr., the student who filmed the video, said the girl had her phone out during class and refused to give it to the teacher when asked. Fields was called into the room to handle the situation at which point it escalated, as the video shows.
Fields' social media presence is minimal, as his Twitter account has recently been deleted and his personal Facebook profile makes no mention of the confrontation. Several students alleged on social media that Fields has a history of roughing up students.
Beyond performing duties for the sheriff's department as the high school's resource officer, Fields coaches the school varsity football team's defensive line and strength training.
The unidentified female student was arrested for disturbing school and resisting arrest, and was returned to her parents' custody, officials said.
Sr. Dpt. Fields did not immediately return requests for comment.
In a statement to local news station WLTX, the school's superintendent Dr. Libby Roof wrote, "Our District is deeply concerned about an incident that occurred at Spring Valley High School today."
"Student safety is and always will be the District’s top priority," she added. "The District will not tolerate any actions that jeopardize the safety of our students." Roof indicated that district administrations have begun an investigation in cooperation with the sheriff's department's internal inquiry.
Sr. Dpt. Fields is now reportedly on administrative leave and Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott has requested an investigation from the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI for South Carolina.