A group of black parents from the South Carolina high school where an African-American student was videotaped being thrown to the ground by a white police officer are calling for the charges against the student to be dropped. The Richland 2 Black Parents Association is scheduled Thursday to present a petition asking officials to dismiss the October misdemeanor charge of disturbing schools levied against against an unidentified 18-year-old Spring Valley High School student, who was shown being yanked from her desk in a video that quickly went viral, the Associated Press reported.
If the teen were found guilty of the charges, she could face a fine up to $1,000 or 90 days in jail. The group is calling for Dan Johnson, solicitor in the county where the incident took place, to drop the charges, saying it has gathered thousands of signatures on the petition.
The FBI is investigating the officer in question, former Richland County deputy Ben Fields, and Johnson said he wouldn’t move the case against the teen forward until that investigation is finished. "I do not simply decide cases based upon feelings, public opinion or sentiment, nor do I decide them based on political pressure," Johnson said in the statement to the AP.
The October incident involved Fields responding to a complaint from the student’s teacher that she was being disruptive. Cell phone video showed Fields telling the student to stand up, and when she refused to leave, Fields slammed her body to the ground and threw her across the floor.
After the video was widely spread across the internet, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott fired Fields. The Richland 2 Black Parents Association also is prepared to petition lawmakers to make a change to the law that enables police to arrest students who misbehave in schools, the AP reported.
— TucsonNewsNow (@TucsonNewsNow) December 16, 2015
"The unfortunate actions of this police officer has revealed what many African American parents have experienced in this district for a very long time,” Richland 2 Black Parents Association said in a statement following the October incident.