Black parents say teen tossed from desk treated unfairly



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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The latest on a protest by black parents and activists asking a prosecutor to drop charges against a South Carolina high student tossed from her desk by a police officer after refusing to put away her cellphone in class:

5:25 p.m.

About two dozen black parents and activists have given a petition to a South Carolina prosecutor asking him to drop a "disturbing schools" charge against a 16-year-old student who was videotaped being yanked from her desk and thrown to the floor by a police officer.

Several protesters spoke Thursday afternoon outside the prosecutor's office at the Richland County courthouse.

They say it was unfair and unacceptable that the student and an 18-year-old classmate who filmed the Oct. 26 incident faced charges when they left Spring Valley High School in Columbia that day while deputy Ben Fields was not charged.

Fields was fired, and the FBI is investigating. Prosecutor Dan Johnson issued a statement Thursday saying he can't make any decision about dropping charges until the federal investigation is finished.

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5:15 a.m.

A group of black parents plans to present a petition calling for officials to drop charges against a 16-year-old South Carolina high school student who was videotaped being yanked from her desk and thrown to the floor by a police officer in her classroom.

A misdemeanor charge of disturbing schools was filed against the student and an 18-year-old who videotaped the incident on her cellphone at Spring Valley High School in Columbia.

Richland 2 Black Parents Association says it has hundreds of thousands of signatures from people around the country calling for Solicitor Dan Johnson to drop the charges.

Association members plan to be at Johnson's office Thursday afternoon. The students in the case are black, and the officer is white. The officer, Richland County deputy Ben Fields, was fired.

Johnson says in a statement he can't make any decision about the charges against the students until the FBI finishes its investigation of Fields.

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Jeffrey Collins

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