On Monday a South Carolina high school resource officer violently grabbed a student from her desk, slammed her on the ground, and dragged her across the floor.


One day after video of the incident went viral, the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice said they would investigate. A Newsweek reporter asked me for my thoughts on this unprecedented response.

Here’s what I had to say:

Another reason for the speedy announcement in the South Carolina incident, says Steve Silverman, executive director of Flex Your Rights, a nonprofit that educates people about interacting with the police, is because the incident was caught on camera.

“The police chiefs and the prosecutors, they can’t just sit on their hands while the officer works on his story,” he says. “It’s this kind of video evidence that allows police chiefs to quickly act…. The speed must have happened on account of the video.”

The young man who filmed the incident, Tony Robinson Jr., deserves an award for his bravery. Without his video it’s unlikely that Deputy Ben Fields would have been fired. It’s less likely that this incident would have been heard of beyond Spring Valley.

So if you ever witness police violence, here are some tips for safely recording the police.

Yes. I Want to Help Get Flex Your Rights Education into Every Classroom in America!