Local Advocates Express Outrage Over Arrest Of South Carolina Student

(CBS) — The violent takedown and dragout in a South Carolina classroom sparked not only a heated school board meeting, it has launched a federal investigation.

The Justice Department will decide whether the veteran deputy violated the civil rights of the female student.

CBS 2’s Audrina Bigos talked to local advocates who say this is another example of police using excessive force.

Students had their cameras rolling Monday morning when a female student repeatedly refused to put away her cell phone. That is when Richland County Deputy Ben Fields was called in.

“NO situation should ever escalate to that degree,” said Chicago State University associate professor Kelly Norman Ellis.

The 27-year educator was disgusted by the response.

“A child is dragged, forcefully in a classroom that’s a place of learning and a place that she, even in her place of defiance, should feel safe,” Norman Ellis said.

When another student spoke up, she was arrested too.

Deputy Fields was put on administrative leave. An internal investigation will determine if he’ll keep his job.

“It should be dealt with very swiftly and very definitively,” said public policy consultant Amara Enyia.

Court records show fields has been accused of excessive behavior three times. A jury ruled in his favor is a 2005 case. A 2006 case was dismissed. And a case accusing him of racially profiling a student is set for trial in January.

“Over the last year, the last two years, we’ve just seen over and over again and many times they’ve contradict the reports that were filed by police,” Enyia said.

We could know by tomorrow whether Deputy Field’s will face any type of discipline from the sheriff’s department. The federal investigation could take several weeks.

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