Officer Slam 3: A Sea of Troubles


image: salon.com

image: salon.com

The Spring Valley High School SRO Ben Fields had two lawsuits filed against him, the first for excessive violence, the second for targeting black students. I wonder if these are the first ever incidents in that man’s police career that he was perceived as violent and racist. It’s possible. If he had been violent before (racism is harder to prove), then it was pretty careless hiring on the part of the school. Another indication that this wasn’t the first time this SRO was violent: one of the nicknames the students had for him was Officer Slam.

And here’s what’s being argued in his defense by various people online:

First, that the student was “disrupting schools”. Well, she wanted to check her phone for just a sec. The teacher was the one who made a big deal out of it, insisting on his authority rather than letting it go as long as it was indeed a quick check. She may have needed to for some reason. The teacher called in the assistant principal, who took the same approach and called in the SRO, who acted the way we’ve all seen on the video. Now who exactly was disrupting schools? (And why on earth is this term plural?)

The teacher was the one who interrupted his own teaching and made a big scene out of nothing. The assistant principal could have been assisting the principal instead of wasting his time on this idiocy and the cop, well, he should probably never have been placed there to begin with. I’m sure the police have better things to do than manhandle teenage girls for peeking at their phones in class, so the only reason–that I can think of–why the police thought it was a good idea to place this officer at the school is that it allowed them to get rid of an incompetent cop without having to fire him.

Second, the student was not following his order to get up and the police have the right to use force if someone doesn’t obey their orders. One just has to come along meekly and politely and sort it out at the police station. In other words, you can’t ever question the police. Sorting it out at the police station means you’re under arrest, so you then have a criminal record, and the sorting out would probably have to be done by a lawyer, which costs money, or it would mean paying a steep fine.

Third, students should learn to respect the law, and instead this girl has now learned that she can get a cop fired. Well, good for her, I say. She’s a citizen and as such she has the right to be treated with dignity and respect, especially at the institution she attends every day. The school has also learned something, I hope: respect is a two-way street. The way the teacher, the assistant principal and the cop approached this non-issue teaches kids to solve problems or just perceived disrespect with violence, and these kids did not find that acceptable. And throughout the country police are learning something: in the age of camera phones, they can no longer get away with thuggery. All good lessons.

Fourth, the student punched the officer’s arm. That may be; I have not been able to make that out in any of the videos. But it’s irrelevant, because it was not the reason the officer used violence. He planned to when he walked in the door. He immediately took away her tablet and asked a nearby student to move his desk away. It didn’t matter what the student did or didn’t do after that. The man’s a thug, plain and simple.

Fifth, lots of students walked out of school to protest SRO Ben Fields’s firing; this was a good guy. And a coach. More about that tomorrow.

4 responses to “Officer Slam 3: A Sea of Troubles

  1. One of my first thoughts was that the officer was given the job of physically removing the student from the class room, and was officially fired for using an unapproved and unecessarily rough technique to remove her. How did the other adults involved let it get to that situation? Was it appropriate to call a police officer to physically remove a student for a cell phone violation? I wasn’t there and don’t know the entire situation, but it doesn’t seem quite right base on what little I do know. There was also an implication that if he used approved techniques to physically force her out of the classroom, the situation would have been acceptable? Hmmm….

    By the way, there has been a big change in society in the last 10 years in that roughly 100% of the population carries phones at all times. Many police officers and politicians have not quite realized the implications of this.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This situation got out of Controle the moment the teacher did not for instance let the situation be and tell the girl to stay after class, and go on with teaching. That the principal did not calm the situation but his actions even escalated more by calling the officer, who had no reason to act in the way he did.
    I have read a lot of comments who blame the girl, she called this upon herself. Which ofcourse is plain nonsense. Others blame the officer acting aggressively as he did, seemingly not having defusing a situation qualities.
    Who has to take responsibility here. Not the girl, she didn’t let the situation escalate. What action will be taken what the teacher, the principal is concerned.
    And what has a police officer being called for such a trivial situation? Teacher with even a minimal

    Like

    • Sorry, answering with smartphone, something did go wrong.
      A teacher with even a little minimum of pedagogical skills could/should have been able to deal with the girl.

      Sometimes I get the impression that many Americans seem to fear teenager in some shape or form. Treating the a some sort of not be trusted, not be respected kind of humans who let their emotions go wild, not having common sense. How can adults expect respect if they do not respect their teens, as the young adults they are. Respect is a two-way street.

      Like

      • Exactly. The emphasis on total obedience just gives away teachers’ fear and inabilities. Teenagers per definition question authority, as well they should. It’s part of the process of becoming an individual. Black teenagers are considered as an extra problem as the numbers show.

        Liked by 1 person

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