Students at an American high school have rallied in support of a police officer who was fired for throwing a student across a room during a classroom disagreement.
Ben Fields, a deputy of the Richland County Sheriff and a school resource officer was caught on camera flipping a black student's desk over and dragging her across the floor after she was accused of being "disruptive".
The incident, which occurred at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, South Carolina, quickly went viral after videos were posted online.
The girl had reportedly refused to hand her phone over to maths teacher Robert Long, prompting him to call in Fields.
Fields repeatedly asked the girl to move out of her desk, and told other students nearby to move away.
When the girl refused, he wrapped his arm around her neck and tipped her chair back to the floor, before throwing her to the front of the classroom and detaining her.
The incident occurred on Monday 26 October, and by Wednesday, 34-year-old Fields had relieved of his duties and suspended without pay for failing to follow proper procedures.
Students at the high school have now protested in favour of Fields, with around one hundred students leaving class and rallying in the school's corridors, many of them wearing homemade t-shirts bearing slogans like "Bring Back Fields" and "Free Fields."
Speaking to local news channel WLTX, student London Harrell said: "We just want to show that we're still supporting and everthing and that's he's still a good guy."
"We don't have his reputation to be ruined because of something that happened on Monday."
The students' rally lasted around 10 minutes, until headmaster Jeff Temoney made a speech telling them their voices "have been heard."
The minor incident is one of many counter-protests that have occurred in America in the last few months amidst mounting anger and increased numbers of rallies against police violence and perceived racism.
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