The FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office are reportedly looking into an incident in which a white school police officer appeared to grab an African-American high school student, flip her to the ground while she was still seated at her desk and drag her across the floor at a high school in Columbia, S.C.
Videos of the incident surfaced online Monday and immediately drew an outcry.
“The videos, apparently shot by students in the classroom, were picked up by national news outlets and had ricocheted across social media platforms by Monday evening, sparking a new round of angry and anguished debate over how police officers treat African-Americans,” The New York Times reports.
The New York Daily News reports that the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office released a statement today saying they are investigating the “circumstances surrounding the arrest of a student at Spring Valley High School.”
“There was no immediate response from Richland County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Ben Fields, the target of the investigation,” the Daily News reports. “Nor was there any response from the tackled teen, who has not been identified.”
The Times report notes: “The Richland County sheriff, Leon Lott, told a South Carolina television station that the officer, a deputy with the sheriff’s department, had been responding to a disruptive student who was refusing to leave class at Spring Valley High School, a campus of about 2,000 students that is about 52 percent black and 30 percent white.
The officer was reportedly identified as Fields, who “also coaches the school football team’s defensive line and is the team’s strength and conditioning coach,” The Times reports, citing the school district’s website.
Here’s a video of the incident: