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Arrest Of S.C. Student Sparks FBI Civil Rights Investigation

Blake Neff

Police in Columbia, S.C., have summoned the FBI to investigate the case of a police officer who body slammed a student in class while attempting to apprehend her.

People around the country have expressed outrage in response to a viral video that shows Ben Fields, a school resource officer, slamming a girl to the floor while she’s still in her desk, then dragging her away to be handcuffed. The girl doesn’t appear to be offering much resistance to warrant such an aggressive display. Given the circumstances and the significant size disparity between the two, many have accused the officer of extremely excessive force. (RELATED: School Cop SLAMS Girl To The Floor IN HER DESK, Drags Her Across Room)

The investigation comes at the behest of Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, who has returned early from a law enforcement event in Chicago to deal with the crisis.

“It’s very disturbing what happened. It’s something I have to deal with and that’s what we’re going to be doing,” Lott told local news station WLTX. The FBI probe will investigate whether Fields violated any federal civil rights laws were broken occurred during the arrest.

Fields has been placed on administrative duties during the investigation, and he’s also been barred from every school in Richland School District 2. Lott said that Fields has been sued for his behavior in the past, but that juries ruled in his favor. On the other hand, Fields has also been honored for his work, with an elementary schoolpresenting him a “Culture of Excellence Award” last year.

The incident has received massive media attention, fueled in part by heightened public scrutiny of how police treat minorities, and it was even condemned in a tweet by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton:

 

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