Spring Valley High School Arrest Incident

Spring Valley High School Arrest Incident

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The Spring Valley High School Arrest Incident refers to the violent arrest of a young African American girl by a white police officer in a high school classroom in Columbia, South Carolina. Videos of the arrest, which were caught on camera by several of the girl's classmates, went viral soon after the arrest was made, leading to calls for an investigation into and the eventual firing of the officer involved in the incident.


On October 26th, 2015, reporter Shaun King posted a video of the violent incident on his Facebook.[1]

King wrote:

Please make this video famous. This is Officer Ben Fields assaulting a peaceful female high school student at Spring Valley High School in Columbia South Carolina. Students and graduates both told me he has been brutal like this for years.

This was earlier today.

The Sheriff's Office just confirmed for me that this student was not physical, but that she was "verbally disruptive" and that the officer was "forced" to do this since she "resisted arrest". Nah.

By October 28th, the video had received over 20 million views, over 106,000 likes, and over 540,000 shares. Later, two more videos of the incident surfaced; in the third, the girl can be seen clearly slapping the officer after he grabs her around the neck.[2] Later, Officer Fields arrested a second girl, Niya Kenny, for "disrupting school"; Kenny claims she was only standing up for the first girl who was arrested, and turned over her own video of the initial assault to the local television station WLTX.[3]

Notable Developments

Soon after the videos were made public, both the FBI and the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division launched investigations into the incident.[4] On October 28th, Fields was fired from his position at the Richland County Police Department.[5] Sheriff Leon Lott said that Fields had not followed proper police procedure.

In the meantime, online activists uncovered Officer Field's litigious past, including a previous lawsuit for unnecessary use of force and accolades from the school for his past work.[6] They also uncovered his personal Facebook and Twitter profiles, which he soon deleted.[7] However, users also discovered a video of Officer Field deadlifting, which soon received 76,000 views and over 200 comments. As of October 29th, the video has been removed.

The hashtag #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh gained over 125,000 tweets,[8][9] and the incident was reported in most major news publications, including CNN,[10] the Daily Mail,[4] and the New York Times.[12]

Raven Symone's Reaction

On the television show The View, talkshow host Raven Symone expressed the controversial viewpoint that although the officer's use of force was unjustified, the student should not have been looking at her phone in class.[13]

Symone's opinion caused extensive controversy on Twitter, where over 40,000 tweets about the incident were recorded. Many expressed disagreement with Symone – that no matter what the student was doing, the force was unjustified – while others agreed.[8]

Search Interest

Note: Spring Valley is a common name for United States High Schools.

External References

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