The Spring Valley Arrest Video Isn’t Disturbing Because The Cop Did The Right Thing

by Scott McKay | October 28, 2015 2:11 pm

David French at National Review tells us why[1]…

The latest viral video of alleged “police brutality” is remarkably short and devoid of context. According to cell-phone video – apparently shot by students at Columbia, S.C.’s Spring Valley High School – a “student resource officer,” Senior Deputy Ben Fields, approaches an unidentified female student. After she refuses to move from her desk, he grabs her, yanks the desk over, and appears to drag, then throw her to the front of the classroom, where he apparently places her in handcuffs. The relevant portion of the video is below:

According to local reporting, Fields was called to the classroom after the student had refused to leave the room, first at the request of the teacher and then at the request of an administrator. A longer video shows Fields asking the student if she’ll leave, she refuses, he reaches down and says, “I’m going to get you up,” she appears to resist, then the officer escalates his use of force:

After going through the breathless liberal reaction to the footage, French offers a voice of reason…

I have a different perspective. After watching and re-watching the incident, I keep coming to the same conclusion: This is what happens when a person resists a lawful order from a police officer to move (UPDATE: CNN is now reporting that a third video shows the student hitting the officer in the face when he initially put his hands on her). Unless the school is willing to have one student commandeer the classroom indefinitely, the officer has few options beyond physical force — and the use of physical force is rarely pretty to see. In this instance, the use of force was decisive, brief, and did not physically harm the student.

While I hardly claim to have grown up (or live) on the wrong side of the tracks, I’ve seen multiple police interventions in my 46 years on this planet — including in my own high school in the 1980s — and I’ve never seen the police be gentle when a person resists arrest. The use of physical force is never elegant, it’s always potentially dangerous, and it’s always easy to critique from a distance. Lawlessness typically leaves a police officer with options that simply don’t look good on camera.

And French finishes with some analysis similar to that we offered here[2] at Right Wing News yesterday…

America’s opinion and law-making classes – walled off in doorman-fronted buildings, gated communities, and generally growing up in the best educational environments – are making judgments about behaviors and police reactions that are utterly alien to their experience. Having little to no exposure to physical conflict, they have no idea how difficult it is to move an unwilling person, and having blessedly lived in the absence of physical fear, they have no real idea how a human being responds to physical danger. But that won’t stop them from opining about police conduct, condemning cops because they’re insufficiently graceful when exerting physical force on a defiant person, and then being self-righteously certain that dissent from their authoritative view is motivated by hate and bigotry.

The arrested student at Spring Valley High School should have left her seat when her teacher demanded that she leave. She should have left when the administrator made the same demand. She should have left when Fields made his first, polite requests. She had no right to stay. She had no right to end classroom instruction with her defiance. Fields was right to move her, and he did so without hurting her. The fact that the incident didn’t look good on camera doesn’t make his actions wrong. Unless additional evidence emerges, the Spring Valley video is going viral for all the wrong reasons.

  1. David French at National Review tells us why:
  2. analysis similar to that we offered here:

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