An incident in which a sheriff’s deputy tackled and dragged an allegedly disruptive high school student here has sparked outrage as video of the incident spread via YouTube, gaining nearly 20 million views by Wednesday afternoon.
The arrest follows a number of incidents in South Carolina and other parts of the US in which civilians have been injured or killed in encounters with police.
According to a report by Lancaster Online, the online version of the Lancaster, Pennsylvania newspaper LNP, Richland County Senior Deputy Ben Fields, who is white, was called to Spring Valley High School to remove a black female student who was reportedly disrupting class. When the student refused to leave her seat, video showed Fields roughly grabbing her in a chokehold and dragging her to the floor.
Fields, the son of a minister, is a native of Lancaster County, where his former teachers expressed dismay at the incident, remembering him as a standout high school athlete.
On Wednesday, CNN and other news outlets reported that Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, Fields’ superior, had requested the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to investigate the incident.
The student, who was reportedly shaken but unhurt by the altercation, was arrested but later released to her parents, along with another student from the same class. Both students were charged with “disturbing schools.” Neither student was identified by name.
Fields was placed on administrative leave after the incident, pending the results of the investigation, Lott said.