The President’s spokesliar, Josh Earnest, following a rather convincing—and no doubt, embarrassing–pair of statements by FBI director James Comey about the chilling of the “Ferguson Effect” on our nation’s police, proclaimed that there is no evidence of the Ferguson effect. As with virtually everything else Earnest has to say, personally or on behalf of the President, that’s idiotic and false, yet another twisting or reality in the service of the magnificence and image of Barack Obama.
The Ferguson Effect is the reality that police officers everywhere no longer trust that they will have the support of their superiors and citizens in doing their jobs. They do not have the benefit of the doubt. This is a very serious matter because without that support and the benefit of the doubt, they are finding themselves in danger of lawsuits, arrest and prosecution, and loss of their careers whenever they have to make an arrest of certain classes of citizens, and particularly whenever they have to use force in making those arrests.
Many police officers are risk-averse in the first place. They’ve learned to do as little as possible, because even in the best of times, that serves them well. They’re paid no less than their harder-charging colleagues, they’re more likely to be promoted, they’re probably safer, and they avoid the horrific stresses that come from being involved in even the most minor controversy. It all works because the hard chargers continue to take the risks, catch the really bad guys, and suppress crime.
But what happens when the hard chargers join the ranks of the risk-averse? We’re seeing that—regardless of what pathological liars like Earnest have to say—across the nation. Crime rates rise immediately and dramatically. Criminals immediately take advantage of changes in the enforcement climate and the most violent crimes, crimes relatively rare, suddenly become commonplace. Daily, more petty crimes become the norm, and particularly in big cities, minority communities and the poor are—unlike the lies of common leftist headlines: “poor, minorities hardest hit!”—hardest hit.
Here is a particularly disturbing example, but not for the reasons one might expect. Via Fox News:
“The Justice Department opened a civil rights probe Tuesday into the arrest of a student who refused to leave her high school math class, after a deputy was recorded flipping the girl backward in her desk and tossing her across the classroom floor.”
As one might suspect, the incident was captured on a student’s cell phone.
The officer, identified by The State newspaper as Richland County Sheriff’s Department Senior Deputy Ben Fields, will continue to work at the department during the investigation, but will not perform duties at area schools. The paper reported that Fields was one of two resource officers employed by the school.
The video shows Fields asking a girl to rise from a classroom desk. Another adult is standing nearby. The girl stays seated, so the officer wraps a forearm around the child’s neck. The officer then tips the attached chair and desk backward until she spills to the floor. The officer then tosses the girl several feet across the floor to the front of the classroom where Fields ordered her hands behind her back and applied handcuffs.
Sheriff’s Department spokesman Lt. Curtis Wilson told The State that prior to the incident depicted in the video, the female student was asked to leave the classroom and refused. She and another male student were arrested for disturbing the peace. The female student was later turned over to her parents.
Wilson added that neither Fields nor the student were injured in the incident.
Remember that last sentence, not that it’s going to help Fields.
At a news conference later Monday, the spokesman said Richland County Sherrif Leon Lott had seen the video ‘and was very disturbed by what he saw. As a matter of fact, he has questions just like everybody else does. He wants answers to those questions. Once he has those, he will address those.’
Wilson said the sheriff was out of town at a law enforcement conference Monday and unavailable to answer questions.
‘We cannot and will not accept this kind of behavior from any law enforcement officer,’ Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin said in a statement, ‘and I firmly believe that we need an independent investigation to get to the bottom of this incident and see that justice is done.’
Wilson said in a statement that Lott has followed up the request with a letter to the U.S. Attorney for South Carolina, Bill Nettles, asking for the U.S. Justice Department and the FBI to investigate.
Anyone care to guess what the results of any investigation will be? No need to guess; they’ve already been announced. Does this, gentle readers, sound as though Field’s police and civilian employers might have pre-judged this situation, even a little bit?
And yes, the girl is black, and Fields has the great misfortune to be male, white and a police officer.
A group called the Richland Two Black Parents Association also called for a federal investigation of the confrontation. The group said video has ‘revealed what many African American parents have experienced in this district for a very long time.’
‘There is no justification whatsoever for treating a child like this,’ said Victoria Middleton, executive director of the ACLU of South Carolina. ‘Regardless of the reason for the officer’s actions, such egregious use of force – against young people who are sitting in their classrooms – is outrageous. School should be a place to learn and grow, not a place to be brutalized.
The situation confronting the school and the deputy is very common. The girl was one of two students in that classroom whose behavior was so disruptive they had to be arrested. But before that threshold was reached, it’s an entirely safe bet this happened:
(1) The girl was warned, by the teacher, several, perhaps even many, times to stop her bad behavior (apparently using a cell phone and refusing to surrender it).
(2) The girl either ignored the teacher or was openly defiant. In either case, the teacher could not allow that behavior to go on, nor could they allow the girl—or any student—to openly defy them. Open defiance of a teacher’s authority spreads like wildfire, turning schools into asylums run by the inmates.
(3) The teacher told the girl to go to a principal/to the office. She refused. Again, that kind of defiance can’t be allowed, ever if schools are to be able to provide a safe and effective learning environment. The least civilized children can’t be in charge.
(4) The teacher probably told the girl to leave the classroom multiple times, and when she did not respond or refused, called for a principal (who appears to be visible in the video).
(5) The principal asked the girl to come with him, and again, the girl refused to cooperate. The principal called Deputy Fields.
(6) Deputy Fields asked the girl, repeatedly, to come with him. She ignored him and/or refused.
Do I know this is exactly what occurred? Of course not, but experience teaches the situation went exactly like this, or so closely as to be virtually the same. School discipline policies are remarkably uniform, and teachers and principals are loath to lay hands on students. In the misty past, teachers would handle a student like this by pulling them out of their desk and quick-marching them to the office. Not ao for many years in this kinder, gentler age of lightning-quick cries of “racist!” and frivolous lawsuits. Schools, whenever possible, let the police handle any physical contact.
Enter Deputy Fields; the sucker. No matter what he did, he was toast.
I recall, during my police days, watching the tape of officers subduing Rodney King. I knew I had no idea what occurred before or after those few seconds of video, and that the officers may well have been entirely justified, but I shook my head and said out loud: “those guys are toast,” and so they were. The video (take the link to Fox) is not even remotely in that class.
Remember that police officers may use whatever force is necessary to make an arrest. Obviously, that force may not be unreasonable. An officer can’t shoot someone that is merely passively resisting, going limp in an attempt to make it hard for an officer to handcuff them. However, when a suspect is actively resisting them, and violently struggling to prevent their arrest, an officer has no choice but to overcome their use of violence with violence. They must act aggressively, quickly and decisively, not only to overcome resistance and do their duty, but to minimize injury to themselves and to the person they are arresting.
Remember that in this case, the girl was not injured.
The video reveals a deputy that was not angry or out of control. He calmly asked her to stand–several times. She refused. He had obviously isolated the girl—there is no one ahead of or behind her in that row of desks (he may have removed them prior to confronting her). He calmly removed what appears to be a folder or something similar from her desk, eliminating what could be used as a weapon or cause injury.
After she refused, he grabbed her left arm, and did not put her in a chokehold or put his arm around her neck. Instead, he reached around her back and obviously tried to grasp her right upper arm to control and lift her, but the minute he touched her, she began to simultaneously struggle, and he was having trouble getting hold of her right side. The Sheriff, despite suspending Fields without pay, has admitted that the girl was trying to hit Fields.
Even so, Fields did not strike her and was not trying to flip the desk over, but merely tried to lift her out of it. As she continued to violently resist–certainly doing all she could to stay in the desk, making it as hard as possible for Fields–the upward force Fields applied to lift her out of the desk was translated to backward motion, at least in part by her arching her back, shifting the center of gravity–as the back legs of the desk tipped and pulled the desk over. There are few teachers that don’t know how easy it is to flip school desks forwards and backwards.
Fields was struggling to keep control of her while also trying to separate her from the desk, and he appears to be surprised when she suddenly shot out of the desk. On first glance, it appears that he threw her several feet, but I suspect the surprise, and sudden release of friction, caused him to release her as she slid several feet. His arms do not follow through and rise as they would if he were actually trying to throw her, and as she leaves his grasp, he remains low and immediately shuffles after her.
Fields then, calmly and repeatedly, told her to give him her hands and handcuffed her, though the video doesn’t show that with any clarity.
As the deck flipped over, Fields was in a very bad position. Off balance, trying to control a resisting, struggling arrestee that was trying to assault him, in very tight quarters, he did what he could to retain control and make the arrest. He did not hit her. He did not kick her. He did not slam her against a wall or the ground. From the moment she began to struggle with Fields until he separated her from the desk, only about five seconds elapsed. This was a continuous stream of movement, dictated not by Deputy Fields, but by the girl.
Classroom arrests are nightmare scenarios for police officers. There are always cell phones with video, and other kids might well interfere. The longer an arrest takes, the greater than danger. The close quarters always make it difficult to maneuver, and there is always that possibility that a struggling teenager could injure others.
Victoria Middleton of the ACLU said: ‘There is no justification whatsoever for treating a child like this.” She is wrong in every way. Teenagers are, in many respects, stronger, faster and more dangerous than adults because they do not have the impulse control, judgment and moral scruples of adults. It is not unusual for teenagers to badly injure, even kill police officers, to say nothing of others. Their youth gives them no special privileges under the law. If an officer gives them a lawful order and intends to take them into custody, they must comply, or that officer can use whatever force is reasonably necessary to arrest them, just as they would with an adult.
In this case, the girl was the cause of the situation from the start. Other media accounts suggest that the entire matter began when she was using a cell phone in class and refused to surrender it to the teacher. Regardless of the cause, if she obeyed her teacher, this incident would never have happened.
If she obeyed the principal that came to remove her from class, Deputy Fields would never have been called.
If she obeyed Deputy Fields when he asked her to stand up, she may have suffered no more than a brief suspension from school. Touching her might never have been necessary.
As it was, we can reasonably believe media accounts to the effect that she suffered no injuries. If she had, the media would surely be displaying photos and featuring breathless witness accounts of the horror of it all.
Of course, Jesse Jackson is all over this and is rushing to the scene to lend his invaluable aide. Can Al Sharpton be far behind? And every possible local official has already piled on:
The Rev. Jesse Jackson also called for a federal probe and said he was on his way Tuesday to Columbia, where the NAACP planned an afternoon news conference. Jackson called the video a “national disgrace” that fits a pattern of unfair behavior against blacks.
‘This man should be arrested, charged, fired and sued,’ Jackson said. ‘The department should be sued.
Why not tarred and feathered, then lynched? Why not burn the Department to the ground and then salt it? Why not riots and “Black Lives Matter” agitation?
Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin said, ‘We need an independent investigation to get to the bottom of this incident and see that justice is done.’
Richland 2 Superintendent Debbie Hamm said, ‘Our district is deeply concerned.’
‘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 said ‘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.
Caught up in politically correct ass-covering, the Sheriff actually begged the DOJ and FBI to get involved. He has actually begged the Obama DOJ, the most lawless, radical, leftist group of “activists” to ever control federal law enforcement, to come and crucify one of his deputies, and is opening wide the door to eternal federal control of his agency. He will get his wish. Whether he is bright enough to understand what he has done is another matter.
Deputy Fields has no chance–none–of a fair and impartial investigation. He will end up in federal prison and will lose every penny he has ever made or ever will make.
The School District has just cut off its nose to spite its face. What rational police officer will have anything to do with them in the future? Even if officers are forced to work in the schools, what officer will dare put his hands on a student, particularly a black student–they are, by all accounts the majority in this district–again?
Teachers too will be quick to understand the new reality of discipline in the schools. There will be none.
The mayor has all but signed the checks for as much as the girl’s parents decide to demand. The Sheriff will be signing many enormous checks as well. So will the school district. One wonders what has happened to public officials honoring their duty to protect the public’s funds to the greatest, ethical extent possible?
What law enforcement executive in his right mind would refuse to conduct an investigation of potential misconduct in favor of involving an entirely lawless, leftist DOJ? Why would he put himself and his agency in the worst possible position before any lawsuit is even filed? Why would he throw his officer to the wolves before any investigation begins?
Because the girl is black. Would an incident like this be publicized without this racial dynamic? We know it would not, because white police officers have to use force against white students every day and not a word is uttered to the press. If it were, it would be ignored. If the supposed victim were anything but black, would Jesse Jackson and the ACLU be salivating over the situation? That there is no visible, detectable element of racism in this situation is of no consequence. The only thing missing thus far is a statement by President Obama pouring gasoline on this particular manufactured racial fire. No doubt, that will not be long in coming.
I do not condone excessive force, or any misconduct, by the police. Regular readers can have no doubt of that. There can be no doubt Dep. Fields was justified in using force in this case, though that too will surely be denied. The only issue was whether he used too much. The girl was entirely uninjured, which does not argue for the proposition that too much force was used.
Arrests sometimes turn violent. Taking people into custody against their will is not an occasion typified by tea and scones, oh-so-polite conversation, and dainty doilies. It is fast, ugly and violent, and to people not used to the realities of police work, may appear to be absolutely horrifying and unimaginably brutal. But if Deputy Fields was out of control and racist–a charge already made–how is it the young lady suffered not so much as a bruise?
If only white people had been involved, the Sheriff’s Department would have–if anything at all–done an internal investigation. Perhaps Dep. Fields would be admonished to do things differently next time, or at least to be more careful, perhaps not. There would certainly be no DOJ involvement, because under the Obama DOJ, white people cannot have their civil rights violated.
So here we are. Again. Still. Police officers in this part of South Carolina are about to learn–if they haven’t figured it out yet–that there are now new rules, rules that will work against active enforcement of the law, and will work against taking the slightest risk, including making necessary arrests. Criminals now have even more freedom to practice their chosen profession, soon to be joined, thanks to the Obama Administration and both side of the aisle in Congress, with many of their most experienced and lawless pals as the prison gates are thrown wide.
Who in their right mind would become a police officer now? What police officer in their right mind would volunteer to work in a school now?
There is one bright side: gun and ammunition sales will continue to go through the roof, until, that is, Democrats are able to change the balance on the Supreme Court and the Second Amendment becomes a right without any meaning in the individual lives of Americans.
Won’t criminals of all races enjoy that?
And perhaps one day, citizens will reawaken to the reality of who the brutal, violent predators actually are.
NOTE: The linked Fox News story has changed substantially since I first found it early on 10-27-15, yet the URL has remained the same. If you take that link, you may find that some of the material posted here no longer exists. Sorry, but that one is not my fault. You’ll have to take my word that it did as I copied and pasted.
UPDATE: 10-28-15, 1635 CST: Ben Fields has been fired, which is no surprise. That was a foregone conclusion; the only question was when? The only questions remaining are how rich the girl and her parents are going to become and how berserk the Obama DOJ is going to be on this one.