Students in Columbia, South Carolina, staged a protest in support of Officer Ben Fields following his firing over the aggressive arrest of a teenage girl.
Fields was caught on video grabbing a 16-year-old girl and flipping her out of her chair, before dragging and slamming her to the ground. The girl was then arrested. The clip quickly went viral and sparked outrage among viewers, with many claiming that Fields used excessive force to detain the teen.
According to Daily Mail, the officer was initially suspended without pay, but was later fired over the incident.
In response to his termination, nearly 100 students at Spring Valley High School held a rally in support of Fields, reported Daily Mail.
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“We just want to show that we're still supporting him and that he's still a good guy,” senior London Harrell said. “We don't want his reputation to be ruined because of something that happened on Monday.”
During the protest, students marched out of class wearing T-shirts that read, “Free Fields” and “Bring Back Fields.” They chanted his name upon exiting their classrooms, and did not return until Principal Jeff Temoney arrived and requested that they get back to work.
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“I addressed the students to let them know that we understood their need to make their voices heard,” Temoney said. “Then I reminded them that Spring Valley High is all about the business of teaching and learning, so it's time to go back to class.”
Temoney also released a statement following the protest, assuring parents and residents that the students and teachers were safe throughout the demonstration.
“At no time, were any students or staff in any danger," his statement read, reported WISTV. "School is carrying on in a safe and productive manner today."
Fields, who was a deputy for 10 years prior to the incident, is currently under state and federal investigation, reported Daily Mail. The girl he arrested was recently orphaned and had been living in foster care at the time of the incident.