Black High School Student Assaulted by School Cop, Bystander Who Filmed It Gets Arrested

+ A video has surfaced of Ben Fields, a school resource officer at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, South Carolina slamming and dragging a black female student out of her desk. The confrontation happened on Monday because supposedly the student refused to leave class when she was told she was under arrest. WISTV, a local news station reports: “Richland County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Lt. Curtis Wilson, the female student and a male student were arrested for disturbing the peace.” A group called Richland Two Black Parents Association is calling the video “egregious” and “unacceptable.” Superintendent Dr. Debbie Hamm released a statement and said the district is deeply concerned with the videos and are working the the sheriff’s deputies for a complete investigation. Mother Jones investigated and found school cops use violent excessive force too, which has contributed to seriously injuring 28 students and killed one student in the past five years.

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Niya Kenny, a student who filmed the altercation, stood up for the assaulted girl when she witnessed what happened. As a result, she was arrested too for disturbing school.

+ Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders disagreed over the motives for enacting the Defense of Marriage Act, “a 1996 law that barred federal recognition of same-sex marriage,” came to be. In an interview with Rachel Maddow, Clinton said President Bill Clinton’s motive for signing DOMA was to prevent other harmful legislation from happening.

“I think what my husband believed — and there was certainly evidence to support it — is that there was enough political momentum to amend the Constitution of the United States of America and that there had to be some way to stop that,” said Hillary Clinton. “In a lot of ways, DOMA was a line that was drawn that was to prevent going further.”

At the annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Iowa, Bernie Sanders called Clinton’s comments a “rewrite” of history and it was “not the case” that worse legislation was to follow. Other gay rights advocates agree.

“It’s ridiculous. There was no threat in the immediate vicinity of 1996 of a constitutional amendment. It came four years later,” said Elizabeth Birch, who was executive director of the Human Rights Campaign from 1995 to 2004. “It may be that she needs to revisit the facts of what happened.”

+ Jackie Hatton-Hesketh, a 44-year-old woman from Wales, was assaulted in a hate crime while out with her partner by a group of men in July. The group of men were verbally abusing her partner when she intervened and that’s when they called her a “dirty lesbian” and began beating her up. Hatton-Hesketh curled up in the fetal position while her partner called the police. Two men were arrested and only one was convicted of assault and got away with only a small fine and a curfew. The attack has caused more damage and much more costs to Hatton-Hesketh. She’s lost money as a result of her injuries since she took time off to recover and can’t work her at her shelf-stacking job. The stress from all of this also contributed to breaking up with her partner.

+ A few days after Texas announced it would end Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood, state health department investigators raided Planned Parenthoods in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Brownsville and ordered the centers to give them thousands of pages of patient information and records information.

“It is completely outrageous that Texas officials are using thoroughly discredited, fraudulent videos to cut women off from preventive health care, including cancer screening, H.I.V. testing and birth control,” Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement.

+ Two weeks after “murderer” was spray-painted onto a New Hampshire Planned Parenthood facility, an intruder destroyed property including phones, medical equipment and computers with a hatchet at the same location. No one was hurt during the vandalism and police caught the juvenile who was responsible for the damage. This is one example of the attacks Planned Parenthood has received since Center for Medical Progress released deceiving video footage alleging PP illegally sold fetal tissue for profit.

+ Here’s something to cheer you up. Mary Numair, a woman from Portland, single-handedly broke up a anti-Planned Parenthood protest by chanting “Yeast Infections!” alongside the protestors. Numair was at work when she saw a group of protestors gathering a block away at a Portland Planned Parenthood. She crafted a sign out of discarded cardboard praising PP for “treating her chronic yeast infections [when she was] in her early 20s and uninsured” and clocked out of work early to make a point to the protestors about the work PP does beyond abortions.

+ Hillary Clinton agreed to stop accepting contributions from lobbyists and PACs for private prison companies and promised to donate any previous donations from them to charity. Civil rights groups and immigrant rights groups including ColorofChange, Black Lives Matter, Get Equal, Presente, and United We Dream pressured Clinton to stop accepting money from private prison companies. People of color and immigrants are disproportionately targeted and their lives are profited off of in private prisons.

+ April Miller and Karen Roberts, the lesbian couple who is suing Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis for denying them a marriage license despite an order from the Supreme Court, celebrated their marriage over the weekend with a formal ceremony.

+ Bhumika Shrestha, transgender activist from Nepal, became the first citizen from her country to travel abroad with a passport marking her gender with an “O” for other instead of “M” or “F.”

+ Last week in this column, I reported that five predominantly black churches have been burned in the St. Lois area since October 8th. That count is up to six now, with a seventh church — which wasn’t predominately black but located in a predominately black neighborhood — also set on fire. Police say the fires are linked. All the blazes began at the entry or door of the church.

+ A school district outside of Chicago could lose up to $6 million in federal funding after defying federal regulations to give equal appropriately gendered locker room access to a trans girl. A federal decision is expected to come in soon on whether Township High School District 211 violated a student’s rights. The school allowed the student to change in a private room area instead of the girl’s locker room.

+ Processed meat like bacon and salami can increase your risk of developing cancer just like cigarettes or other carcinogens, according to an international panel of scientists that advises the World Health Organization. The scientists pointed out “the risk of developing cancer from meat consumption still remains relatively small,” so you don’t have to freak out over occasionally eating bacon.

+ New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his administration will extend the New York State Human Rights Law to protect transgender people from discrimination in housing, employment and more. 

Yvonne S. Marquez is a lesbian journalist and former Autostraddle senior editor living in Dallas, TX. She writes about social justice, politics, activism and other things dear to her queer Latina heart. Yvonne was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter. Read more of her work at yvonnesmarquez.com.

Yvonne has written 205 articles for us.

20 Comments

  1. All of the Planned Parenthood stuff is distressing, but hooray for the YEAST INFECTIONS! lady!
    Also, I’ve heard of people who help out those who need PP’s services by escorting them across picket/protest lines. Does anyone know how to contact someone who organizes these things?

    • I was a clinic escort for a year in north Texas! I volunteered with my university’s feminist organization. Usually volunteer groups are organized through the clinics themselves, but sometimes outside groups will reach out and try to organize something that clinics can connect volunteers to. I know some of the clinic defense in north Texas is now done by a medical student group, which is awesome. I’ve searched in the past and couldn’t find anything like a comprehensive volunteer escort database. Try calling the clinics in your area and seeing if they can connect you with anyone who organizes escorting.

  2. I’m feeling weird about including a link to the video in the article and I can’t articulate 100% why. It just feels like we’re always watching Black bodies, and as of recently Black girls and women’s bodies being brutalized, and I’m wondering if we can talk about the horrific nature of the incident without watching the video? this isn’t a criticism…more so a doorway to conversation about why we feel like we need to see this sort of terrorism to realize just how bad it is.

    also shout out hillary for taking a step in the right direction!

    • I hear your discomfort! I did not want to watch the video for that reason, but my wife persuaded me to in order to really understand just how outrageous the cop’s actions were. The violence he used shocked me even though I had read the description. Even having seen it, I have a hard time believing the cop actually did that to a teenager. So, I think the video does have an educational purpose.

        • Capturing and sometimes even provoking violence by the police in order to capture images of violence is a time-honored tactic used by movements such as the civil rights movement, Act-up. It’s not meant to preach to the choir. Its meant to convert those who don’t fully grasp the extent of the problem and to gain sympathy. Should we ignore the opportunity to reach out to those people? Should we instead choose to alienate them by instead stating how superior we are? Only if your desire to feel self-righteous is stronger than your desire to get things to change.

          • yes, but Abby, the. we are t allowing brutalized Blazk/marginalized bodies the privacy to heal. I understand it’s a tool used by civil tight organizations, but it doesnt make it a good tool. The KKK aso used pictures of Black bodies they brutalized as propoga da… so if both sides are using the same tactic, I’m wondering why that is. Especially because it does trigger a lot of Black people, myself included. Are we just supposed to be in a constant state of upset until eventually, hopefully, someone decides enough is enough?

          • I also feel like saying some people NEED to see things visually in order to empathize sort of gives people, usually the oppressor, an excuse to not empathize in situations like this (if the video wasnt circulated) while keeping the blame on the oppressed (“well, if you’d SHOWED me, then i’d believe you”).

            and i mean, we all know at least one person who has seen the video and said, “well she shouldve followed directions” so clearly even with the visual aid of the video, it’s not working like we’d hoped

          • But the student who was assaulted isn’t an activist. She didn’t plan for this to happen, she didn’t ask to be assaulted by a police officer or for a video of her assault to become viral. She’s just a kid who had something horrible happen to her.

            While it maybe was important initially to show people the video to make them aware of what happened, at this point it seems unnecessary to keep sharing it. Would you share a video of an underage girl being sexually assaulted to prove that misogyny exists? I don’t think so. You would understand that what happened was traumatic for the victim and that encouraging people to watch a recording of it can further victimize her by taking away her power to control how who she is as a person and what happened to her is portrayed.

    • I agree with you Alaina, there is something very uncomfortable about the circulation of the video to talk about what’s happened. We all know what’s happened a quick Google search will lead us to the video and I’m sure whether we’ve wanted it to happen or not fb friends have shared the video.

      You’re showing a video of a child being brutalized in a space that’s supposed to be safe which unfortunately doesn’t feel very safe. I’m sure that wasn’t your intention, but if you could perhaps show links as to how people can help rather traumatize black people and people who have been brutaiZed this way rather than the video of the assault.

  3. This will be my last time frequenting this post but here. Sit on this.

    If you really cared about that Black girl that got assaulted then you wouldn’t continue to post the video in which she is being assaulted constantly. You can spread info about the incident without showing that girl’s pain and triggering Black people continuously.

  4. I believe it is an unfortunate fact of human nature that generally, people do need to be shocked into caring about something that doesn’t directly affect them. I don’t believe that story would have spread as far and generated as much outrage if not for the video.

    I think the young woman who filmed it put her own safety at risk for a reason. She knew what the public needed to see, sadly, in order to pay attention.

    • it’s hard to discern race on the internet, so i’m not gonna make any comment about any of the previous commenter’s races, but what I’m hearing as a Black person is, “we need to circulate these videos because white people need to see this, regardless of if it makes some Black people uncomfortable”

      i think there’s a difference between a scared girl taking a video of something HOPING that SOMEONE will see it and finally believe the shit that has apparently been going on forever and big media companies sharing videos and gifs and stills of it over and over and over for days.

      i just want us to think about how and what we sayand what it really ends up meaning/its impact on everyone who reads it

      • No, that isn’t my meaning. I’m not advocating any particular action. I can see how my comment could be interpreted that way, so I apologize for not being clearer with my wording. I think that, particularly in a space like Autostraddle where it can be expected that most readers are socially engaged and informed, it isn’t helpful to link to a video that causes trauma.

        I wish we lived in a world where all spaces are like Autostraddle, and that cop would have been fired without the public outcry that resulted from seeing graphic proof of his actions. I just don’t believe that we actually do live in that kind of world.

  5. Right, the Clintons were so intent on secretly supporting and protecting gay marriage that it took her until 2013 to feel safe admitting it.
    Hillary Clinton obviously believes very strongly that she should be president. But it seems that all her other opinions change as necessary to support her only consistent belief.

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