Don Lemon Just Got Schooled on Live TV for His Coverage of the Assault at Spring Valley
CNN's Don Lemon took heat on his own show, CNN Tonight, on Tuesday after claiming viewers simply didn't have enough information to reach a conclusion about the brutal arrest of a teenage black girl caught on video Monday.
The clips shows Richland County Sheriff's Deputy Ben Fields violently flipping over the student's desk at Columbia, South Carolina's Spring Valley High School before grabbing her by the neck and dragging her across the classroom.
Fields has been placed on administrative leave, but critics are demanding that he be fired. After showing the clip, Lemon told viewers people need "to know more before passing judgment" on Fields. He immediately earned the ire of former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin, who told Lemon there was no clear justification for Fields' violent response to the student.
"We don't know what happened," Lemon said, despite the presence of two separate videos of the incident taken from different angles. "You weren't sitting in the room, Sunny. You don't know if she wasn't standing up. You do need to know more, and as a prosecutor, you should want to know more."
"The standard here is whether or not the officer had to use this type of force," Hostin said. "If it's reasonable and necessary to somehow secure discipline in the school. The bottom line, Don, is this is a young girl. This is a girl in school."
"Whether or not that force is justifiable is the issue, and the force is not justifiable," she said. "She is sitting there, she is not resisting, she is sitting there in a chair. That is unreasonable force, that is excessive force and it's assault."
Critics have previously targeted Lemon for some of his on-air statements while covering issues related to police brutality, in particular his statement while reporting on the 2014 protests in Ferguson, Missouri, that "obviously there's a smell of marijuana here as well."
"Don Lemon is forever on the wrong side of everything," wrote the Root's Yesha Callahan.