A South Carolina high school student who witnessed her classmate being physically abused by a school resource officer was arrested and held on $1,000 for filming the incident.
Niya Kenny, 18, told WLTX she was shocked and disturbed when she saw Officer Ben Fields flipping her female classmate out of her desk and pinning her to the ground for refusing to leave class.
“I was screaming ‘What the f, what the f is this really happening?’ I was praying out loud for the girl,” Kenny told WLTX. “I just couldn’t believe this was happening I was just crying and he said, since you have so much to say you are coming too. I just put my hands behind my back.”
The video, posted Monday by New York Daily News writer Shaun King, shows Fields wrapping his arms around the neck of the pony-tailed girl. He then flips her desk over backwards and throws her onto the ground, saying “put your hands behind your back.”
Kenny said her classmate is only about 5’6″ and said she never saw anything like it before.
“A man used that much force on a little girl, a big man, like 300 pounds of full muscle,” Kenny told the station. “I was like no way, no way, you can’t do that to no little girl.”
Her classmate wasn’t participating in math class at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, and was asked to leave by the teacher. The girl refused, so the teacher called an administrator, who called Fields.
Kenny’s mom, Doris Kenny, said her daughter was just standing up for the girl and said Field’s actions were excessive.
Niya Kenny was charged with “disturbing school,” which her mother questions.
“Who was really disturbing the school?” Doris Kenny asked. “Was it my daughter or the officer who came in to the classroom and did that to the young girl?”
Update – The girl who was slammed around suffered multiple injuries, and had just lost her Mom, and was placed in Foster care.
…Rutherford told the New York Daily News that the teen recently lost her mother and is living in a foster home. The teen’s foster mother said the girl was “devastated and emotionally traumatized by all that has happened to her,” according to the Daily News.
Rutherford said that lawmakers must tighten up restrictions on use of force by school resources officers such as Fields — who students say was “known for slamming”pregnant women and teenage girls to the ground.
“The legislature needs to take action, and make sure our students are not the targets of rogue police officers called ‘Officer Slam’ who are going to walk in and brutalize them at a moment’s notice,” Rutherford said.
Rutherford, who serves as the Democratic Minority Leader of the South Carolina House of Representatives, also plans to represent 18-year-old Niya Kenny — who was also arrested for “disturbing school” while video recording the violent attack on her classmate.
“We passed that law several years ago, and when we did arrests of students shot through the roof,” Rutherford told the TV station. “They were getting arrested for everything because it meets with the statute. The statute is unconstitutionally broad, and everyone knows it.”
The lawmaker said he was shocked by the deputy’s actions — which he said were completely unjustified.
“I had no words because that was something that simply should not happen,” Rutherford said. “It was a classroom. We’re not talking about a roadside setting where you’re worried about the safety of an officer, we’re not talking about any setting where the officer’s safety is in jeopardy and he needs to make sure he controls the situation. It was a classroom.”
He said school resource officers are placed in schools to protect students from outsiders and threats involving guns or knives — and not to punish students for showing disrespect…