CNN host Don Lemon got into a heated debate with Sunny Hostin, a CNN legal analyst. Hostin ripped into Lemon for his “we just don’t know” posture Lemon insisted on taking on the widely seen video of a police deputy and school resource officer manhandling a 16-year-old female student at Spring Valley High School in South Carolina. The female student refused to report to the discipline office, and was subsequently arrested by the on-call officer.
Writes Salon.com: “CNN anchor and perpetually inept provocateur Don Lemon demanded that host Wolf Blitzer and legal analyst Sunny Hostin withhold deciding whether South Carolina resource officer Ben Fields used excessive force when removing a student from a classroom earlier this week.”
“There’s no excuse for what he’s doing to her,” Lemon says, “but again, we don’t know – we don’t know – this only shows a small slice of time, and I’d like to know more before passing judgment.”
Hostin, a former assistant United States Attorney, had heard enough. “Are you guys kidding me?” she interjects.
“We’re not,” Lemon replied. “We need to know more.”
“We don’t need to know more!” Sunny Hostin cries. “The law provides that the standard here is whether the officer used reasonable force – whether it’s necessary.”
Video, seen here, shows the white officer – identified as 11-year veteran Ben Fields – restraining a black teenager with a high degree of force. CNN reports the officer has since been fired. The teen refused to give up her cell phone in math class, and defied orders by her teacher and a school administrator to leave the classroom.
The shocking video shows officer Fields approaching the student – whose name was not released – and grabbing her by the left arm. He then puts his right arm around her neck and flips the desk backwards – with her in it – before spinning her around and dragging her to the front of the class, where she is handcuffed on the floor.
Another student, not seen in the video, attempts to assist the female student who is being arrested. The pair were arrested under charges of “disturbing the peace.”
Some reports indicate the teen struck the officer before he placed his hand on her, though even if she did, the ferocity of the takedown remains quite disturbing.
“We believe that Mr. Fields’ actions were justified and lawful throughout the circumstances of which he was confronted during this incident. To that extent we believe that Mr. Fields’ actions were carried out professionally and that he was performing his job duties within the legal threshold,” Fields’ attorney, Scott Hayes, said in a statement.
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Agree with Don Lemon here, or is Sunny Hostin right?