The cop who slammed a high school girl and her desk to the floor and then dragged her across the room and cuffed her has been fired:
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott on Wednesday fired Deputy Ben Fields, who was caught on video picking up and throwing a student of her chair during class in Columbia, South Carolina.
“Fields did not follow proper training and proper procedure when he threw the student across the room,” Lott said, adding that he specifically did not agree with the “maneuvers that were used.”
Lott placed some of the responsibility on the female student for starting the incident by refusing to put away her phone and leave the classroom.
“We must not lose sight that the whole incident was started by this student,” Lott said, adding that it still doesn’t excuse the deputy’s actions.
“I can tell you what he should not have done. He should not have thrown the student. He could have done a lot of things he was trained to do,” Lott said, adding the officer feels sorry the incident occurred.
Thank FSM there was video. That’s the only thing that made this outcome possible.
Good to know that student tossing is prohibited in South Carolina.
The whole thing is a damn travesty, but this
made me laugh. Do these people not listen to themselves talk?
Steve from Antioch
Damn right about the video.
I read a story last night – sorry no link – that said that the principal and the teacher had initially supported the school cop.
It takes two people for a criminal assault to happen, one to do the assaulting and to be assaulted. Lets not forget to put the blame where it really belongs.
Yep — no video and the guy probably doesn’t even get disciplined. Good for the student who made it.
NPR has been interviewing various officials who attended the police chiefs conference and yesterday they asked the former police chief of (IIRC) Nashville and New Orleans what he thought of James Comey’s claim that cops are afraid to police because they’ll be caught on YouTube and that’s why the crime rate is up. He said something like, Uh, yeah, a lot of us, maybe even most of us in that room disagreed with him. Disagreed a lot.
What about the student?
@Mnemosyne (iPhone): I think the crime rate is up because of all the guns that flooded the market in 2009 and 2012.
One of the other students in that class was on Chris Hayes last night, and said that (now, thankfully, ex-) Deputy Hughes was known to the whole student body at that school as “Sergeant Slam” or “Officer Slam.” Seems pretty clear this episode was far from the first time he’s done something like this.
So have the charges against the student been dropped? What about the charges against the other young woman who was arrested for capturing the incident on her phone?
And how long before “Officer Slam” (as he was known by the student body well before this latest incident) gets a job at some other department?
The local news showed an interview with a mom who was white. Her autistic son was slammed by this guy, but there was not a video. She did take pictures of the wounds are her son. She was not surprised to see the recent video.
Bullies like the former officer are color blind, imo .
@srv: the reports I’ve read is the student parents saying she traumatized.
Personally I’d wonder if the kid even goes back to that school. Yes she should have put up hwr cell, but 2 wrongs…but he was the one with all the power and excessive force….
She’s ths girl who got “tossed and dragged” across the classroom.
I guess she’s never use her cell in class again…but fear does not necessarily equal respect…so
@Joey Maloney: He’ll probably be a wingnut crowdfund millionaire shortly, so he won’t need a job. Seriously, the comments under the story in my local paper were absolutely appalling — people were lauding the cop as a brave hero who stood up to a disrespectful, mouthy student.
peach flavored shampoo
Are cops routinely tested for anabolic steroid use? This guy is showing quite a few signs of usage.
@Joey Maloney: It’s almost as if we need a federal registry that a police department can check before hiring someone. If they have sustained complaints for assault, they shouldn’t be able to get a job being a LEO.
Sad we needed cameras everywhere to validate what we already know: humans can be brutal creatures, indeed…
Second worst part of the video: the scared and humiliated look on the girl’s face sitting behind the altercation. No wonder some kids who want to learn see this stuff and say, “fuck it…why bother?”
@srv: Could you go be a professional dick, somewhere they LIKE professional dicks? Just curious. I’m glad this dick got fired. The only thing he was sorry for, was that he got filmed, and caught out.
From what I’ve read the school and police already knew of thus officers reputation the kids apparently called him “Officer Slam”…so this kid isn’t the first who got excessive treatment from this dude
As for that Sheriff…I’m still in “is this bish for real mode” ovwr his comment that cause dude “is dating or had dated” an AA then of course this incident could not be racial…really dude…really…
One can still have no good will towards a people outside of the “good one” they are dating…so yeah he could be dating a black chick but still have disdain for “those types” of Black folk
@Betty Cracker: Ya think those comments would have been so pro-cop if the girl was a cute, white girl and the cop was Black?
The news reports are still saying the teacher and administrator think the officer’s actions were appropriate. Jesus wept. If this happened to an adult who was texting at work, there would be no discussion about whether or not it was appropriate or earned; the security officer would be fired and then charged with assault.
Arne Duncan’s response, via AP:
“If the students had been tested for this kind of event there would have been a more positive outcome.”
Big ole hound
@Brachiator: When will cops understand that mouthing off to them is not a crime. I’m surprised he didn’t pull out his gun for “fear of his life”.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
Am I right, law-talkers, in thinking he just settled the civil suits? Good.
I heard on NPR this morning that a “new video released morning” showed the girl hitting the cop with her fists> Is this a new video, or is this the one I saw last night on the O’Donnell show where she reacted when he got his right arm around her neck (not quite a full head lock, but looked like that’s what he was doing) and his left hand/arm under her thigh?
Maybe you’ll get lucky and she’ll move to Qatar by the end of November.
That may be due to union rules/labor laws; easier to fire someone if they’ve broken a specific rule or guideline than for being an aggressive asshat.
I don’t think she was arrested for recording the incident – she was arrested because she “verbally objected to his [Dep. Fields] actions“.
She was charged with the open ended crime of “disturbing schools” which sounds disturbingly like it means whatever they want it to mean. They can’t be crazy enough to prosecute her for objecting to a cop’s actions that caused him to be fired….or can they?
Dull questions that have to be answered:
How, exactly, did this guy get to be a ‘school resource’ officer?
What was the process?
Did he volunteer?
What, exactly, were his qualifications?
It’s fine to be outraged– but the comments from Lott show that the whole hiring/training/supervision process failed abysmally… and if it’s going to be fixed that’s where you have to look and where the people responsible really are.
It’s odd that ten years ago we’d all be terrified of the idea of cameras everywhere recording everything as violations of privacy.
Instead, the cameras are now aiding people in documenting the horrors of police and political misconduct that would otherwise remain hidden.
We’re at the point where we’re fighting for the power to use cameras to protect ourselves.
Considering that when I was in school students were routinely paddled (up through high school), this is still way over the top. If a student won’t go to the principle, then bring the principle to the student.
@SiubhanDuinne: Yeah, this guy is only “sorry” that he got caught on camera, not for slamming the student.
Just like my beloved cocker spaniel decades ago – she was never sorry that she had gotten into the garbage; she was only sorry that she was being punished for it.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: That’s the only one that I saw. When that video was released, it confirmed to me that her reaction was mild.
@DTTM: This. When students are labeled, it’s easy to say f..k it.
@Mandalay: There’s an easy flowchart for that question:
Is she a black student –> yes!
Is she a white student –> what, are you fuckin crazy? Of course not
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@peach flavored shampoo: Cole, and I, had the same thought. I don’t know if/how he can be tested for steroids, but he certainly should be.
The sheriff, last night on Hayes, said the state legislature had passed that “disturbing the school” law & it was being widely misused because it was so broad & vague that a teacher can define it however he chooses.
They asked the guy that question and he basically said that there’s no way to tell if it’s a blip or an actual rise until next year. Last year was the lowest crime rate on record, so this may simply be an adjustment.
And they’ve already shown that the “Ferguson effect” didn’t happen in Ferguson or the surrounding area at all, so it’s pretty much an urban legend.
I have had disruptive students, I have never had to call cops on them. I am a petite woman and when I taught labs, several times it was to an overwhelmingly or sometimes even an all male classroom. The teacher seems incompetent.
Nope. A little more equivocal if it had been a white cop and white student, though. Chivalry is not only dead, it never existed, so I wouldn’t count on her getting automatic support from anyone.
OT: I have a post on the Bihar elections, it is shaping up to be a referendum on Modi and the stupid beef ban policies of BJP run state governments.
Maybe I missed it mentioned in comments above, but i heard news report on what happened to prompt the violence.
Her ‘disruption’ of class was that she was texting in class.
The cop is horrible and needs to face consequences of committing assault.
But obviously a big problem with that class, or school or district in how they approach discipline and teaching.
And news report featured snippets of parents actually defending that approach to discipline in the schools, even though all of them also faulted the cop for too much violence.
But, if that is the kind of school BS the parents want, it is going to lead to BS like this police assault. But I suppose they would disagree.
Cheap Jim, formerly Cheap Jim
@srv: So a black man, faced with a roomful of cops, said placating things until he could get away. Dog bites man.
Not really – that ship sailed a while ago. As long as you are not interfering with the police you have a legal right to record their actions in a public place. And if the police tell you to stop recording, or confiscate your phone, or delete what you have recorded, they are in big trouble. At least that’s the theory.
TBF, reports of cops messing with citizens who record them are becoming much rarer. And that’s great.
I happened to catch a report on BBC World News about the beef ban. They outlawed beef slaughter, even the possessing and eating of beef. Thousands out of work who used to work in the slaughter houses, and farmers with no way to get rid of their old cattle.
What happens when religious idealogues get their hands on government.
I think race is what got it escalated to that point, but I’ve been shoved around and threatened by enough white guys to know that I don’t have any automatic protection from them because we’re the same race.
That whole thing where a white guy butts in because you “made” a white girl cry? That’s not chivalry, that’s two racists ganging up on you. You don’t want to know the shit white guys say if a white girl cries in front of them for any other reason.
@pat: Indeed, beef bans in India, restricting access to abortion and contraception in the US, same story.
@SiubhanDuinne: I haven’t watched the video with sound, but I was stunned by how the other students did not seem to be looking at the throwing incident. As if they were afraid to catch Officer Roid Rage’s eye else they’d be the next tossed across the room. How many times have they seen such goings on to be able to steel themselves from looking over to the scene. I think the kids looking down at their desks proves these kids go to school in fear they will be the next one slammed. Frightening. More frightening than the comments supporting physical violence against quiet kids in classrooms, but just barely.
@PaulW: I think it was David Brin who coined the term sousveillance – We are watching Big Brother.
Same with my local paper — people strongly felt that the student had it coming and the deputy should be lauded for bringing discipline to the classroom. Some of the comments were grounded in the legit concern that students that refuse to follow rules screw up learning for everyone…but the bottom-line is that most people simply felt that physically tossing someone around was justified by the student’s insubordination.
It would be fascinating to see a reliable poll about this…about what people feel like is an acceptable use of force for such a situation.
@Rock: Usually the folks who preach the “Liberals have made us too afraid to spank and that lack of spanking makes us weak” corporal punishment crowd haven’t actually experienced or witnessed corporal punishment. It just sounds good. Well, this is what it looks like.
There’s a segment of parents who want “zero tolerance” in schools. It doesn’t follow the lines you would think it would- this is an overwhelmingly white district but it’s about 50% low income. There is a definite group of low income parents who want kids (sometimes their own kids) to get more than “a slap on the wrist”. They’re noisy and they get listened to, because it’s a way of thinking that a lot of people agree with generally.
That has to be admitted and dealt with, because it’s real.
@Rock: Funny how for the mass of the ‘lesser people’ in this country, the costs of such harsh and inflexible sanctions are never a consideration, but for the favored rich and politicians, those costs seem to the first consideration always.
The parent need to think a little bit about the difference between a school and a prison (do they see any difference, maybe after thinking about it, they will say, yep, they are pretty much the same).
When I was a youngin’ I made some money in HS and undergrad tutoring kids with parent like this, and the parents always were puzzled why Little Johnny just doesn’t seem to want to learn anything.
@Kay: I agree, as this comment shows, I have dealt with it up close and personal and have seen the consequences for the kids, which are very sad.
Actually, let’s lose sight of it. I’ve got a news flash for you, Sheriff: sometimes teenagers do stupid things. We can either deal with it like a semi-sane 21st century society or we can deal with it like fascists. I congratulate you on dismissing Reichsdeputy Fields from his post, it’s at least a step in the right direction.
I had the same thought when I watched the video, and the student on Hayes last night confirmed it.
Another Holocene Human
SC is a horrible, depressing place.
That said, SC law enforcement seems more willing to punish their out-of-control racist cops than other states.
Maybe that’s just because the “counter-Reformation” of anti-affirmative action legislation missed America’s Bunghole and they’re still stuck in the 1970s. Hard to say.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: No, it’s just a different, closer view of the same sequence. The claim is that the was throwing punches at the officer while he had her in a chokehold and was tipping her desk over backwards (as opposed to, you know, a fight-or-flight reaction anyone would have when suddenly physically assaulted):
This is increasingly what it comes down to – they don’t even bother with “I felt endangered” type bullshit, they just say that it was the cop’s God-given right to teach that [insert disparaging noun here] respect. And people with stories of being assaulted by cops are simply shrugged off as “well, okay, so you didn’t assault him and you didn’t start anything, but still, you should’ve shown more respect.” It’s become simply assumed that it’s the natural state of affairs for the rest of us to bow, kneel and kiss their rings because… something? It certainly isn’t because they’re earning it.
I had disruptive students yesterday, and I had to break up a fight as it was starting. I had EBD students who would not be quiet during instruction.
I did not feel a need to have the SRO come in and break their arms.
@schrodinger’s cat: I seriously hope Modi and BJP lose over this.
@ruemara: I hope so too. Bihar politics is a cesspool, they are all various varieties of awful, but yes a BJP loss would be sweet.
Listening to NPR’s On Point discussing the video and its aftereffects. A couple law enforcement types are defending the cop, even to the point of blaming it all on the victim. Of course, it’s also Obama’s fault.
If I’d heard one cop speaking out against and condemning the cop’s behavior, I’d have more sympathy for cops. But with this steadfast attitude that anything a cop does can be justified, there’s no way to have sympathy.
All this talk of you don’t understand, you didn’t see the entire incident, the problem is the people with the cameras, etc., etc., and not one single remark about a large grown man violently slamming a teenage girl to the ground or of arresting her for the crime of not listening. Just too disgusting.
@Another Holocene Human:
Much of it is quite wonderful, actually.
Just say it real slow and think about it:
The girl was disrupting class
she was caught
So, she had to thrown out.
It’s all BS from start to finish.
Another Holocene Human
If there is any true to the business cycle theory of crime (popular in criminology but not really well supported by the data), then right now we’re seeing young criminal teens coming online who were born into the tech bust/W recession. Times had been good for poor people for a while, but then there was a nasty freeze on government jobs (especially state/local). Wanted children would be in the womb but either before birth or in the crucial years after suddenly suffer a drop in nutrition. Malnutrition causes lowered IQ which correlates to increased likelihood to get arrested and incarcerated. They think it’s because the frontal lobe acts as the brakes on the reptilian brain “hey, if you do that, this will happen, and we won’t like this, don’t do that”.
Anyhoo, if that’s the case, it will get worse because Bush’s sham recovery did nothing for the poor in America. However, after a few years of suck people do slow down on babby birfing because they start to feel like things will suck forever (hope dies). So then things will slough off a bit.
Just in time for the angry young children of the Great Recession to show up, the echo of the angry Silent Gen (born during the GD or just after, don’t remember it). They will probably vote Republican, or Fascist, if the Republicans have broken up the band by then.
Another Holocene Human
@Mnemosyne (iPhone): Don’t be silly, it’s not about chivalry, it’s about the raging, shriveled ‘nads fears of committed white supremacists.
I guess I am showing my age, as I do not have kids, and graduated over 20 years ago from high school, but why was a cop called because a kid disobeyed the teacher? When I was in school it would have been kicked up to the principal or assistant principal for that grade level.
When did things change?
Another Holocene Human
@Gene108: Oh, back when “Zero Tolerance” came in during the 1990s.
It was the worst thing about school until they brought in those grift-tests.
Another Holocene Human
If they’re texting, make the kids get up and march around the classroom repeating the lesson. Or make them come up to the blackboard in turn. Or split the classes into groups. Teachers did all of that stuff to me and I’m pretty sure they teach that stuff in fancy behind teacher kollidge.
I passed notes. Same thing, just a different day.
ps: some teachers used to intercept notes and read them aloud to the class although this seemed to be more myth than everyday practice
Another Holocene Human
The US Congress banned horse slaughter in a similarly precipitous way (which eventually led to the starvation and suffering of thousands of horses during the Recession) without any apparent religious motivation.
Just a feeling that something they didn’t understand the use for was icky.
@Peale: That’s not true. A lot of them experienced corporal punishment and considered it normal.
Another Holocene Human
@Peale: disagree, they usually survived it and often inflict it
they have to rationalize that their parents loved them yet hurt them so badly physically and emotionally
@Starfish: I think you’re right. Most parents I know who believe in spanking justify it by saying their parents spanked them and THEY turned out well. (Debatable point, IMO, but that’s how they see it.)
@Another Holocene Human:
There honestly is this weird thing where white supremacists claim that they’re better than black or brown men because white men are chivalrous and don’t beat or abuse their women.
They then go home and smack that bitch up because she didn’t have dinner ready on time and don’t see any disconnect.
There’s also the college phenomenon where if a black or Latina woman calls out a white woman for saying/doing something racist, a white dude will intervene and scold the woman of color for making the poor, fragile white woman cry and claim it’s some kind of chivalry when, as I said above, it’s really just two racists teaming up to shut down the conversation.
I’ll say this — there were a few times in college when I was confronted with something racist I said or did, and I teared up … and then apologized for saying/doing what I did and promised not to say/do it again. Because I may cry easily when confronted, but I’m not an asshole who’s going to use crying to dodge responsibility for what I said or did.
I’m sure others have made this point…
If a parent were seen doing this to his/her child, somebody would have called Child Protective Services. So how can it be OK for a cop to do it to a student?
As for what should be done about recalcitrant children, this is something parents have to deal with all the time. And yet few in public resort to the actions the cop took.
Authority..not respecting it…can be dangerous.
Glad he was fired.
@jl: It is not BS to have rules against texting in class. It can be very disruptive and if you don’t stop one student from texting then another starts and another, and so on. If you then try to bring it to a halt the student will point out that you let other students text and why can’t he or she text, then you lose control of the class. Once you lose control of the class it can be very difficult to get it back. Most schools have a policy of taking the phone away if a student is caught texting during class. At my school you have the option to keep the phone until the end of the class, the end of the day, or give the phone to an administrator and have the parent come and get the phone. It usually follows first offense phone is taken for class, second for day and so on. Texting is the modern day equivalent of passing notes in class, but more disruptive. The teacher did what he needed to do. The student didn’t deserve to be tossed ass over head, but she had the option to end the situation and she chose not to. I have been in that very situation and have learned when it involves the smart phone during class time, you just can’t be nice. I’ve used the promise of using phones at the end of a class when all work is done, as a reward, but even then you have to be careful.
@schrodinger’s cat: The teacher looked young to me. Probably inexperienced. I think I would have written up the student and made it clear that she may get to keep her phone for the rest of the class or day, given the situation, and then have administration deal with her later in a conference, most likely with a parent. The student would probably have lost the right to have a phone while in school for a set amount of time.
I read somewhere–can’t remember now–that this student has already been traumatized; she lost both her mother and her grandmother during the past year and she is now in foster care.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
This morning’s news talked about “new video” showing the girl hitting the cop, but what they showed seemed to be just a variation of what you described.
Yesterday, various news reports and talk show hosts reported the teen as “being disruptive,” but some also noted that they didn’t know what actually happened. So, people filled in what “disruptive” meant to them, and other commentators just fell back on the general idea that you should never oppose the police because, authority. The implication was that if you do not comply, anything the cop does (short of shooting you) might be permissible in certain circumstances.
@Juju: I was young and inexperienced when I taught freshman physics lab and not that much older than the students. Why not send the girl to the principal’s office?
probably has already been linked to but the Five Fast Facts covers it pretty well.
@flukebucket: Huh. Oliver Gospel Mission is an advertiser on the NBC station out of Columbia, WIS. That explains nicely the stenography job they did in the link I posted above of the Shocking!New!Video of the girl “punching” the cop.
One early report said that the student had put the phone away and had apologized. I don’t know whether this was actually the case. But it appears that the teacher had a zero-tolerant attitude. From an LA Times report on the incident:
The student was making bad decision on top of bad decision.
But crucially, although the student here is clearly being defiant and un-cooperative, the reports do not tell us whether she was doing anything to actively disrupt the class.
But the adults made it far worse. And I think you have lost control of the class when an officer is upturning chairs and throwing a student across the floor. If I were a student, I would have felt fearful and totally unable to just ignore what happened and just turn the page and go on as if an adult had not assaulted a young girl.
RE: I have been in that very situation and have learned when it involves the smart phone during class time, you just can’t be nice.
Have you had students strong armed into submission?
mai naem mobile
The cop is obviously wrong but why the hell does the school allow cell phones during class time. School kids got along just fine without cell phones in the classroom. If it’s a life or death phone call your parents call the damn school.
@Brachiator: I don’t put a whole lot of stock into random student accounts of what happened — could be truthful, could be bullshit. It’s entirely possible the cop actually needed to forcibly remove the kid from the room. It’s the way he did it that was wrong.
Relevant Story: I am a High School teacher at a lily-white school and our resource officer is African-American. He’s absolutely fantastic. When things like this have happened at my school, the response is gentle words and an explanation of the consequences. Also things like “Hey… what’s the reason you are having such a hard time right now?”
Violence in a situation like this is beyond stupid.
J R in WV
The pseudo-cop deputy should be in jail for assault and battery, and most certainly should have instantly been tested for steroid use, which looks obviously to be the case with his physique. NFL players are less ripped than that guy.
He was strong enough to take the girl’s hands and walk away with her forced to get up and follow, or be dragged. In which case she wouldn’t have needed hospital care after the assault.
Horrible, and all the other kids looking down at their desktops like that was terrible, it must happen every day in that school, they know how to behave to not be attacked by staff… horrible.
Betty, I know SC is beautiful countryside, but their power structure is so rotten that I hate just driving across the state to get somewhere else. Like TX, which I cross at the northern panhandle without stopping when possible.
Actually, what made it possible was a pattern of poor judgement demonstrated by the officer. In and of itself, this arrest of a trespassing student who was in the process of being suspended and had been ordered by three different people to leave the classroom and report to the office while her suspension was being processed would not have resulted in the firing of the police officer regardless of how many YouTube videos. Arrests are not pretty, and arrests of resisting suspects are even less pretty. The officer exercised poor judgement in how he executed this arrest, in that he did it in a way that could potentially have resulted in injury to another student (the desk ended up flying into another student’s legs), but it would not have been pretty regardless of how he executed it and we would have had the lynch mob mentality riled up regardless of how he executed it because how dare a white police officer enforce the laws regarding trespass against a poor innocent little black girl who was merely violating the laws regarding trespassing by remaining in the classroom after being forbidden to do so by the teacher, the school administrator, and a police officer.
If there was *not* a pattern of poor judgement demonstrated by the officer, then he will have his job back before the ink dries on this headline, because government workers have due process rights and part of those due process rights include the right to a hearing where evidence of misconduct can be examined and argued in light of law and departmental policy. Rule of law. It’s not only what police officers sign up for, it’s a good idea, because the alternative to rule of law is rule of jungle, and people who prefer rule of jungle need to sign up to move to Mogadishu.
@J R in WV: The power structure in lots of states is rotten — more states than not, probably. I find broad-brush condemnations of entire states ignorant and irritating, though I’ll admit to indulging in it myself sometimes — and being wrong when I do.
The accounts, and the reporting, is as incomplete and as full of varying accounts as any other collection of witness testimony. But there is a great deal of congruence. There are, so far, no assertions that the student was verbally or physically disruptive.
Really? The teacher wanted the the student gone. But the reports seem to consistently talk about the student passively resisting. Sitting in the chair, holding on. There is something sad and odd about the student’s reported behavior, but she is still a child. There are no reports of her trying to physically harm anyone or be loud or disruptive.
I am not seeing a need to use force against a child, if it is only to ego stroke the teacher or to affirm the school’s “authority.”
The child was stubbornly painting herself into an embarrassing corner. Some of the other students in the class appeared to be her friend. The teacher and the other authority figures decided to deal with “the problem” instead of dealing with the student. And, as too often is the case, the solution was stupid brute force.
” It is not BS to have rules against texting in class. ”
That is not what I meant. It is BS to have a rule like that with no option but to go ballistic and impose sanctions immediately that are just as disruptive as the violation itself.
Edit: maybe I am being harsh on the teacher, or school if that is their policy, but if you have to handle violations that way, you have already lost the class. If the student was uncooperative, I would announce what her penalty was if she didn’t stop, and if the rest of the class knew they would get it too and they ignored her, I would just let her text away and deal with her later. If that didn’t work then your ramp up.
So if this was the first time that this adult cop threw a teenage girl to the floor and injured her, he should get his job back as long as he promises not to do it again?
So is there *any* situation where you think a cop should be fired on the first offense, or should they always get second and third and fourth chances to hurt someone?
There’s a reason why it usually turns out that cops who are caught on camera doing this shit have a history of doing it, and it ain’t because arrests are messy, too bad, so sad, nothing to see here. It’s because they’re people with a history of violence who keep getting away with it because other cops are covering up for them.
@schrodinger’s cat: I think she refused to go to the principal’s office. I read that on another blog, but I don’t know how accurate that bit of information is. I didn’t say that I would have sent the student to the principal’s office right then and there, but that would eventually happen. The only time I have ever needed a resource officer is when a student stole my two month old iPhone 4s. He, along with one of the vice principals searched book bags and had students empty pockets.
@Badtux: your comment is not serious.
@Brachiator: This, agreed. Adolescents paint themselves into a corner All. The. Damned. Time. That lack of judgement is the major reason in the developed world we don’t think they are ready for adult responsibilities and they shouldn’t be always expected to conform to an adult standard of behavior. Working with the age group requires a great deal of patience and the ability to forgive and move on from mistakes. Kid refusing to leave the room when kicked out? That is in fact the time to call admin and maybe even the resource officer in to talk them down off the proverbial ledge. Violently throwing them to the ground? Utterly totally out of line.
@Brachiator: My point is we don’t know what happened. It’s not true that there are no accounts that the student was verbally or physically disruptive. She wasn’t acting out like that on the video, but it only captured part of what was apparently a much longer incident. Maybe she was, maybe she wasn’t. The only thing that seems 100% clear to me is that the cop handled the situation very badly and deserved to be shit-canned.
I’m pretty sure there’s a middle ground between living in a police state and living in anarchy.
@Mnemosyne (iPhone): First, arrests are not pretty. The “correct” way to handle this would have resulted in the girl screaming in pain as he executed pain compliance methods against her, which would have resulted in just as much uproar but less possibility of injury. (The girl was not, BTW, injured other than minor scrapes and bruises, but the manner in which he executed the arrest certainly could have resulted in injury). The optics of any arrest with a resisting suspect suck. Always have, always will.
Secondly, cops do get some leeway because it’s a hard job and they have to make a judgement call at any given point. Sometimes that judgement call is wrong in hindsight. In this particular case it’s pretty clear in hindsight that it was a bad call but if we fired cops for a single bad call we wouldn’t have any cops. We fire cops for a pattern of conduct or for a single incident of misconduct that resulted in serious bodily injury or death, not for a single bad judgement call which resulted in no injury to anything other than a young girl’s pride.
The fact that this cop got fired indicates that this was not an isolated incident of bad judgement on his part. If that’s not true, then he will have his job back shortly.
Life is even harder now for the South Carolina teen assaulted by ex-Deputy Ben Fields — she recently lost her mother
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Wednesday, October 28, 2015, 2:41 PM
In an interview with the Daily News, Todd Rutherford, the respected Columbia, S.C., attorney representing the assault victim of the recently terminated Deputy Ben Fields, revealed that his client, in addition to suffering injuries on her face, neck, and arm, is a recent orphan living in foster care.
While her identity, no doubt, will eventually be leaked to the media, it’s the goal of her foster mother to protect and care for her as well as she can considering the circumstances. She communicated to us that the young victim is devastated and emotionally traumatized by all that has happened to her.
I’m going to stop you there, because it’s quite obvious to everyone in the country by now that cops are *not* fired even for causing a serious injury or death. They don’t even get their guns taken away and reassigned to desk duty.
So, sorry, but for me cops no longer get any benefit of the doubt. They’ve pissed it all away *by their own actions.* If you don’t want people to treat you like you’re a dangerous thug who could attack or shoot them at any moment, stop making excuses when cops attack and shoot people.
My 15-year-old niece is on the autism spectrum (very high-functioning). I could easily see her freezing up in a situation like that and being unable to respond to orders. So, yeah, that video is freaking me the hell out because I can think of a million reasons why that girl would freeze up or resist that aren’t because she’s just being a sullen teenager.
srv: “But did she apologize???”
You sound like a great teacher. I retired 4 years ago, I have to admit from the time I started teaching I was dismal at formal disciplinary procedures. Fortunately that weakness is what made me a good classroom manager. I went the extra mile to resolve conflict with and among students because I couldn’t do all that writing up. The best compliment I ever got from an administrator came when he called me in to tell me that when he was going over the staff with the new vp and he got to my name he told him I was a gifted teacher who he probably would never know because I herded my own cats and killed my own snakes.
@Mnemosyne (iPhone): The only justification I can think of for the cop’s actions is if the kid was physically endangering herself or other people and had to be stopped immediately. That was clearly not the case in the video.
If the report R linked above about the kid recently losing her mother and having to go into foster care are true, well, that could explain all kinds of acting out. I would hope in a case like that, the teachers and administrators would know about the situation and treat the kid with a lot of compassion and patience. Doesn’t sound like that happened either. Le sigh.
You’re an ass.
Now that a few teachers have chimed in, now I can say that I think there was some teacher fail there as well. Really, the student’s texting is *so* disruptive that you have to call first an administrator and then a cop to have her forcibly removed?
You’d think that her teachers would have been informed about her family circumstances, but I don’t know what the student privacy policies are. I would think that teachers would want to know if a student in their class is dealing with emotional issues that might make them more prone to blowing up unexpectedly, but that could be a privacy thing.
@Mnemosyne (iPhone): No idea what kind of privacy issues might be involved. When my kid lost her beloved grandmother, I emailed her teachers myself and let them know she was grieving and to contact me if they noticed any issues with her. They thanked me for it and kept an eye on her. The kid in South Carolina might not have anyone to advocate for her if she’s newly arrived in foster care, but hopefully she landed with a good foster parent who can help her deal with it…and now all this notoriety on top of everything else she’s been through.
@Brachiator: No. I have not had students strong armed into submission. My guess is that the teacher could not have foreseen what eventually happened. I have dealt with situations almost exactly like this one. I usually ask for the phone, and it if it’s not a chronic problem with the student, give it back at the end of class, if it is a chronic problem hold on to the phone until the end if the day, if it continues beyond that, take the phone and give it to a vice principal . When you give the phone to a vice principal, a parent has to come and pick up the phone and have a conference with administration.
I did once have a student refuse to give me her phone, and also refuse to go to a class time detention room. In that case I told her I was going to write her up and turn the form in at the end of the day. I also gave her the option to give me her phone so I could keep it for the rest of the day and when she came to pick up her phone, I’d dispose of the write up form, and we could forget the whole thing and start the next day with a clean slate. She refused that offer. As it turned out, this girl was told if she was caught texting in class one more time, she would be in in-school suspension.
What I mean by not being nice is that a student gets one warning about the phone, and if he or she is caught using the phone again, I take it away or write the student up, as I described earlier.
I do not at all approve how the situation was handled at that school in SC. The resource officer deserves to lose his job and then some, but having dealt with this very situation, I understand the frustration of the teacher, but both the teacher and the student handled the situation poorly. The resource officer’s reaction and actions were criminal.
@Brachiator: Haven’t read the thread, but I have distinct memory of the Treason State outlawing dwarf tossing when I attended Clem(p)son in the 80’s…
@mai naem mobile: Typically schools don’t allow cells phone use in class. That was the issue.
I have not seen reports of her being verbally or physically disruptive. I’ve only seen reports about her using or looking at her cellphone.
Either way, even the police department’s report says that forcibly removing the child was out of order:
Yeah, the cop was out of order and dealt with. But the child may need some help in dealing with the way that she expresses and defends herself. Even if she were “just a brat,” she needs to learn how not to be self-defeatingly defiant.
Yep. Thanks for the clarification. Your points and examples are well stated.
I think, though that it is more than that both the teacher and the student handled the situation poorly. I think that children will sometimes make wrong decisions, even when they try to do right. And your examples based on your past experience demonstrate how you have to anticipate and defuse a situation, something that the child may not have the prescience to understand or think about.
I guess apart from dealing with the bad cop, I would like to try to find a way both to respect the teacher’s authority and to preserve the child’s dignity.
The reports, if true, that the child had recently lost her mother, adds to this, I think.
That’s why I was wondering if the teacher hadn’t been informed of the student’s (reported) family circumstances. It’s hard to imagine a halfway decent teacher getting into that kind of pissing match with a kid s/he *knows* is going through a rough emotional time and probably needs to be handled differently than an average kid who just texts too much.
Also, too, as a woman with ADHD who wasn’t diagnosed until years after high school, I wouldn’t be surprised if your overtexting students have undiagnosed ADHD. Talking too much in class is often a sign of ADHD in girls.
@dogwood: I am no longer a full time teacher. I now do substitute teaching. I’m impressed that you made it to retirement. I didn’t last that long. My full time teaching was in middle grades, but my subbing has been exclusively high school, after some tries at elementary and different middle schools. I discovered I am not suited to elementary school teaching, and middle grades was relentless in dealing with middle grader behavior and sometimes finding out what sort of family life caused that behavior. There have been times where the reasons for the misbehavior has been gut wrenching.
I thank you for the compliment, and it means a lot coming from a person with your teaching experience. I try to do my best, but more often than not, I feel as though I’m screwing things up royally.
Your instincts and the interactions you describe ultimately build trust with your students. And that’s more than half the battle. Because if they trust you they are more than likely to forgive you when you screw up. And we all make mistakes in the classroom.
@Mnemosyne (iPhone): Regarding teachers being informed of family issues, no, they aren’t, due to confidentiality laws on the part of social services. A good teacher however learns those things via the grapevine. Students talk, at least they talk to good teachers, and you can learn a lot by listening to them.
I do agree that the teacher’s reaction to the original incident was stupid. I suspect even the administrator would have agreed with my opinion that this was a stupid thing to escalate about, he likely would have said “don’t do that again” to the girl and sent her back to class with an admit slip. If she’d ever gone to the office as requested. But at that point, if you refuse to go to the office when requested, you run into the grinding gears of how high schools work. It’s the administration’s call then, and if the admin comes in and you don’t go with him, you *will* be suspended, period. Doesn’t matter race or gender at that point, this is just how high schools work.
I wholeheartedly agree with that statement. I can’t tell you the number of times I have dealt with the self defeating defiance, or just defiance for no particular reason, and have tried to explain the concept of picking your battles more carefully. I did have a middle grades student who I saw at the grocery store a decade after I had him as a student, and he apologized for his bad behavior and told me I was right about picking battles more carefully. He was from my first year of teaching, so I didn’t completely screw things up as a new teacher. Apparently I did no permanent damage to him, which is always nice to know.
There were probably many points all through this situation where the adults had an opportunity to act like adults and de-escalate the situation, but they all blew it — including the guy who decided it was appropriate to throw the student out of her desk.
And, yeah, if your school’s policy says that a kid who’s acting out because her mother died and she ended up in foster care *must* be suspended, no exceptions, then your school’s policy is fucked up.
None of this would have happened if the girl would have just done what she was told. It’s a parent problem. And if it was my kid she’d get her ass kicked by the resource officer first and me when she got hime
You done good here. It’s always cool to see how much a thoughtful assist from a teacher can help, and how the kindness may not even fully take root until years later.
I watched the President’s West Virginia panel on the heroin crisis. At one point the police officer on the panel said they were working on expanding a program called Care and Share (?). In cases of domestic disputes , drug busts or overdoses etc, where children were present, the police are informing the school the next day that the students might be very vulnerable. Programs like that are invaluable to schools.
Yes, her mother was SO irresponsible for dying. You’d better get out your Ouiji board so you can scold the spirit of the girl’s dead mother for dying young when you obviously made the right choice by deciding not to die and leave your kids orphaned.
The new wingnut meme is that she attacked him with her blackity blackness and made him defend himself. The supposed third video makes it clear as crystal (somehow) that she was beating him about the face and dammit why can’t we just fucking accept that she was a danger to him and he had to beat her off of him.
My mom just tried to sell this to me.
Don’t you have tub of blood to go drown in? Just wondering, since you like to see it spilled from other people.
This this this this this. Also, too.
That her mother died is no reason for another family member to have stepped in to teach the girl that when the resource officer tells her to do domething to frickin do it. Hell I take my parent comment back, you don’t need a parent to tell u that
A Guy endorses this remark:
Those fucking kids should just man up and bear it with a grin in foster care, right?? Your mom died and you are an orphan ward of the state? Boo fucking hoo! We could break your arm and damage your back and neck also! How does that sound ya goddammed whining brat?
You fucking syphilitic protein stain on the rotting carcass of rabid hyena.
Uh-huh. You know, it’s really nice for you that you’ve had a comfortable middle-class existence your entire life and never had to deal with the death of a parent, but some of us know firsthand that you’re selling a lie. Sometimes shit happens that’s nobody’s fault that no one could have controlled, but YOU will always be looking around for someone to blame so you don’t have to admit that the universe is big and scary and sometimes bad things happen to people who don’t deserve it.
Go peddle your predestination bullshit somewhere else.
Very late to the thread but it suddenly popped into my head as I was reading the thread (and this is not the first I’ve read on this topic) that when I was in 9th grade, I behaved exactly like this girl did.
I was writing a note in history class. The teacher, a nearly elderly man, walked over and asked me to hand it over. I refused, because I had written about his notorious body odor and did not want to hurt his feelings by letting him see it.
He grabbed it but I wouldn’t let go and it tore in half. I was a good student and this was shocking classroom behavior for me. So for me, this would have been the point at which the School Officer was called in. Except- no school officers at my school in the 80’s. So how did this resolve?
He asked me respectfully to go out in the hallway. I did, I still wouldn’t give him the half-note, but he just said that it was bad for me to make him look bad in front of the other students and please don’t write notes in class. And then I think he gave me the other half back. And then we went back into the class and nothing like that ever happened again. Because he was right, and because he was calm and polite. He calmed me down and got me to see it his way.
Today if I did that…?
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: You can see how she reacted to the cop putting his arm around her neck in all three videos, so the “new, revelatory video” BS is…BS. Her instinctive, flailing reaction is what they’re characterizing as her viciously punching the cop.
And if someone is pulling up on your neck you have to do a chin-up on his arm to breathe. So yes every reason for her hands to touch his arm.