Her name is Shakara. The victim of the police assault at Spring Valley High School has been identified by her first name, in an incident that reportedly began when she did not put her cellphone away fast enough, then refused to leave the classroom because the punishment was unfair.
“She could have been left alone,” said Todd Rutherford, Shakara’s attorney, as reported in the Los Angeles Times. “She wasn’t yelling. She wasn’t disrupting the class. She wasn’t a threat to anyone.” Rutherford added that his client did not obey orders to leave the classroom because “she thought it was unfair punishment,” Rutherford added. “She had already put her phone away.”
Shakara has a cast on her right arm, a swollen neck, back and shoulder, and a carpet burn on her forehead, the attorney said. “She’s bruised and battered and hurt — physically and emotionally,” he noted, “what you would expect after being tossed across the room like a rag doll.”
“My thought is that you don’t treat a dog that way,” he added. “We don’t treat animals like that, let alone children. What happened was wrong, what you might expect to happen in a Third World country.” Rutherford has set up a GoFundMe page for donations to the orphaned teen.
Both the victim and her classmate–Niya Kenny, who came to Shakara’s aid–still face misdemeanor charges of “disturbing schools,” carrying a $1,000 maximum fine and up to 90 days in jail. On Monday, Kenny spent 8 1/2 hours in a detention center.
However, the attorney for the offending officer Ben Fields—known as “Officer Slam” by students—said the fired deputy’s actions were “justified and lawful” and “carried out professionally,” and he was “performing his job duties within the legal threshold” according to CNN. The FBI is investigating the matter to determine if Fields violated civil rights law.
In the meantime, 100 students at Spring Valley High staged a walk out in protest of Fields’ firing. Spring Valley Principal Jeff Temoney told The State that the protest was “an orderly student-led activity.” Several videos of the protest were posted on Twitter under the hashtags #bringbackfields and “#bringfieldsback.
— Claudia (@LilCee_MEDIC) October 29, 2015
— Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) October 30, 2015
Gonna miss you Coach Fields ✊?? pic.twitter.com/mGxQcybUA0
— Shaun Moore (@ShaunM_11) October 28, 2015
— Cassibry (@JCass_12) October 30, 2015
While some students chose to cooperate with oppression by protesting in support of a brutal white police officer–one who used his authority to beat a defenseless Black girl, other students—Shakara, Niya Kenny and Tony Robinson, Jr., chose to protest in the face of injustice, with threats of physical harm and punishment to themselves. As Martin Luther King said in Letter From Birmingham Jail, “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that ‘an unjust law is no law at all.’”