The violent arrest and assault of a Black South Carolina high school student captured the nation’s attention, and now, Hillary Clinton is speaking out on the incident and condemning the way it was handled.
Talking to SiriusXM’s Joe Madison earlier today, the 2016 presidential hopeful said that the assault and the offending officer’s actions were unjustifiable.
“The adults in a school should be modeling appropriate behavior to deal with any disciplinary issues that might arise, and that was clearly not the case in the incident we have seen in the school in South Carolina,” she said.
A video of the assault went viral last week showing Spring Valley High School resource officer Ben Fields approaching a 16-year-old student, identified by her lawyer to the L.A. Times as Shakara, for allegedly refusing to put away her phone during class. Fields grabs Shakara by the shoulders and pulls her out of her desk before throwing her across the room and arresting her.
Fields has since been fired from his post. An attorney for Shakara has said that the teen is a ward of the state and living in foster care.
“I don’t know the facts around the young woman who was thrown to the floor—as we all saw—but whatever the facts are, it doesn’t justify behavior like that,” Clinton said. “And it’s important that we all take a deep breath here and try to understand better how to deal with kids who may have different challenges in their lives, and they need to be addressed in a more effective way.”
Clinton went on to say that individuals in positions of authorities need to reevaluate their disciplinary techniques, especially when it comes to confronting juveniles.
“People in positions of authority—particularly teachers, police officers, etc…—we need to take a very hard look about how we deal with the problems kids have today and try to help children where they are,” she said. “And if they’re acting out, there’s a lot of alternatives to picking them up and throwing them on the ground.”