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Video of White Officer’s Takedown of Black Student Goes Viral

Videos of a white deputy roughly pulling a non-compliant black high school student out of her chair and then dragging her on the floor went viral Monday night, just hours after the incident occurred at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, South Carolina. Over half of Spring Valley High’s students are black.

The hashtag #AssualtAtSpringValleyHigh quickly became a Trending Topic on Twitter.

Witnesses and officials say that the unnamed student was being disruptive and refused to leave the classroom. Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King claimed that the full length video showed the student was “never combative,” but the video shows the officer saying, “C’mon, I’m going to get you up” before he approaches the student, who still refuses to move.

The officer assigned to the high school, identified as Ben Fields, is a coach for the school’s football team. Fields has been sued in federal court twice for his conduct, once in a case where the jury ruled in his favor and another pending case due for trial in January 2016. Documents online give details of the accusations made against him in 2007.

Authorities have said they are investigating the incident, but Black Lives Matter activists wasted no time in labeling the incident as racist, while the Reverend Jesse Jackson called for the officer to be fired and charged.

Others, including actor Matt McGorry from the Netflix original series Orange is the New Black and the ABC show How to Get Away with Murder chimed in on the video.

The school district released the following statement:

Our District is deeply concerned about an incident that occurred at Spring Valley High School today. The incident took place between a school resource officer employed by the Richland County Sheriff’s Department and a student. Video of the incident is circulating on social media. Student safety is and always will be the District’s top priority. The District will not tolerate any actions that jeopardize the safety of our students.

Upon learning of the incident, school and district administrators began an investigation. We are working closely and in full cooperation with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department to conduct a thorough and complete investigation. Pending the outcome of the investigation, the District has directed that the school resource officer not return to any school in the District.

Authorities say the student was arrested.

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