See her arm? That's supposedly a 'punch'


Oh, hey, thought you should know that new information has exonerated that South Carolina deputy sheriff and school resource officer who who flung a girl around a classroom at Spring Valley High School like some kind of demented pro wrestler. For one thing, the Richard County Sheriff's Office insists a new video shows the girl "punching" Deputy Ben Fields -- whereby "punching" means flailing her arms as he grabs her by the neck and flips her and her desk over. And for another thing, Deputy Fields is dating an African-American woman, so his assault on a high school girl is definitely not a racial thing.

[contextly_sidebar id="g8ytbT5sLVyp38I69EN6vyq0lvQKWLPK"]Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said that a newly discovered video of the incident, taken by another student at a different angle, "showed her striking and punching at the officer" as he attempted to remove her from the class. Mind you, Lott said, even though the video supposedly shows "her punching him," that doesn't mean everything is hunky-dory, because there's such a thing as proportionality.

"Just because she was wrong in what she was doing doesn't make what he was doing completely right also," Lott explained. He emphasized that, whatever the girl's actions, his department's investigation will focus solely on whether Fields used appropriate behavior in the arrest.

Here's that video -- no doubt a slow-motion Zapruder-style version will be available soon enough -- and darned if what Sheriff Lott calls "striking and punching" looks an awful lot like reflexive flailing as the student and her desk are flipped over, and the her arms appear not to move until Fields has his arm around her neck and is lifting her and the desk:

For the love of god, do not read the YouTube comments. Now, even with all of that punching and striking going on, Lott says he found the first two videos of the incident "shocking," and that seeing one of his deputies behave so violently in a classroom was very disturbing to him.

"I wanted to throw up," he said. "It just makes you sick to your stomach."

As to whether racial bias might be an issue in Fields' behavior, Lott answered a reporter's question by explaining that it was darned hard to tell:

"He's been dating an African-American female for quite some time now," Lott said of the deputy. "So does that have a bearing on his thought process? It may have. But I would think that would have it on a positive way, not on a negative way. So I don't know. There's been no indication of that. He's never expressed that in the past. We've never seen that. It really doesn't matter to me if that child is purple, it's what his actions are and that's what we're concerned about."

That's a pretty epic quote, containing both the classic "don't care if they're purple" denial of possible racism -- we all remember the struggles of Purple-Americans -- plus what HuffPo calls the "ultimate 'But he has a black friend' defense." Nicely played, Sheriff Lott!

NBC News is reporting that Fields "will be relieved of duty." Sheriff Lott has scheduled a press conference for 12:00 Eastern to discuss the results of his department's investigation into the incident.

In the meantime, students in South Carolina schools are being advised not to move too much as they're being hurled across their classrooms, as such flailing may be misinterpreted as violently assaulting an officer.

[NYDN / HuffPo / Buzzfeed / New Civil Rights Movement / NBC News]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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