In video, deputy tosses, drags student; Sheriff seeks info

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Video Shows School Officer Slamming Student

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- A sheriff's deputy in South Carolina is on leave after a video showed him tossing a female high school student from her desk and dragging her across a classroom.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott was returning to Columbia on Tuesday from a conference in Chicago to get more information about the confrontation at Spring Valley High School.

Senior Deputy Ben Fields has been placed on leave, Lt. Curtis Wilson said.

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No one was hurt in Monday's confrontation, which officials said occurred after the student refused Fields' order to leave the classroom for being disruptive. The incident was captured on cellphones by several students.

The video shows Fields asking the girl to stand up. The girl remains seated and the officer wraps a forearm around her neck. The officer then tips the desk backward until she falls onto the floor. The officer tosses the girl several feet across the floor to the front of the classroom, where Fields orders her hands behind her back and puts her in handcuffs.

See another angle of the incident:

Further Cellphone Video Emerges of Classroom Confrontation

Lott told local news outlets that the video showed the student resisting and being arrested.

"It's very disturbing what happened today. It's something I have to deal with and that's what we're going to be doing," Lott said by telephone Monday. According to deputies, Lott has written to U.S. Attorney William Nettles and the FBI requesting a formal investigation.

A group called the Richland Two Black Parents Association also has called for a federal investigation of the confrontation. Fields is white, and the student involved is black, according to Wilson. The group said video has "revealed what many African American parents have experienced in this district for a very long time."

The girl has been charged with disturbing schools, and she was released to her parents. Another female student in the class was also charged with disturbing schools. The names of those charges have not been released.

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Richland 2 Superintendent Debbie Hamm released a statement about the incident.

"Our district is deeply concerned about an incident that occurred at Spring Valley High School today," Hamm said Monday.

"Student safety is and always will be the district's top priority," Hamm said. "The district will not tolerate any actions that jeopardize the safety of our students."

Richland District 2 School Board Chairman Jim Manning also issued a statement about the confrontation.

"I have watched the video several times and there is no doubt that the video is extremely disturbing. The amount of force used on a female student by a male officer appears to me to be excessive and unnecessary," Manning said.

Click through to see reactions on social media:

SC police officer slams black student; video sparks social media outrage
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In video, deputy tosses, drags student; Sheriff seeks info
Speaking as an ex-teacher: no-one who confuses violence with discipline should be allowed to deal with children. #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh
Just a sad pathetic little man who wanted to feel powerful. #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh
#assaultatspringvalleyhigh You cannot justify assault as solution for abstract subjectives like "Disruptive" "Uncooperative".
Sad that #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh is becoming a race issue when it is more a human issue
This is not good education policy. Treating non-compliant kids like dangerous criminals isn't any kind of policy. #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh
What world do we live in that ppl think it is acceptable for a cop to beat a child cause she doesn't listen? FFS #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh
#AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh I think this video has shocked worldwide... I'm from the UK, but even I can see the US Law EnFORCEment is brutal
When a cop can be as violent as the #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh video in front of classroom audience, I fear what he'd do w/ nobody watching.
Why didn't the guy who killed 9 people in a church get body slammed the way this high school kid did???? #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh
Anyone defending a grown man who attacks a young girl, under any circumstances at all, is an awful, awful person. #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh
If you watch the #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh video and wonder why young people defy authority - it's because THIS is the authority they see.
If you don't think we have a problem with police in this country, you're not paying attention. #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh
#AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh You don't need to know "the whole story." Children are not supposed to be brutally attacked by cops.
To those saying "we don't know what she did." It's irrelevant. Unless she waved a weapon, no excuse for this. #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh

The images captured an "egregious use of force" against the student, ACLU of South Carolina Executive Director Victoria Middleton said.

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin called for an independent investigation of the confrontation.

"We need an independent investigation to get to the bottom of this incident and see that justice is done," Benjamin said in a statement.

RELATED: See nationwide reactions to recent police brutality:

Shootings by police, police brutality
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In video, deputy tosses, drags student; Sheriff seeks info
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