In the heat of the firestorm of the recent violent outburst by now former officer Ben Fields, he has been fired by the Sheriffs department in South Carolina.
Deputy Ben Fields went too far when he picked up the 16-year-old and hurtled her across a classroom before arresting her, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott told a news conference.
“That is not a proper technique and should not be used by law enforcement,” Lott said.
A civil rights probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department into the arrest is under way and the state law enforcement division also is investigating. Some activists are calling for Fields, 34, to be criminally charged.
The sheriff said the student, arrested on a charge of disturbing school, also should be held accountable. The girl hit the officer as he tried to remove her from the class, Lott said.
“She was very disruptive, she was very disrespectful and she started this whole incident with her actions,” the sheriff said.
“We believe that Mr. Fields’ actions were justified and lawful throughout the circumstances of which he was confronted during this incident,” attorney Scott J. Hayes said in the statement, according to local media reports.
The sheriff’s office has not released Fields’ personnel record. Lott said none of the past complaints against him came from the school district, where the sheriff noted he was respected as a school resource officer. An elementary school where he is also assigned gave him a “Culture of Excellence Award” last year.
The teacher and administrator who witnessed the encounter felt Fields acted appropriately, Lott said.
“They had no problems with the physical part,” Lott said. “I’m the one who had a problem with it.”
Lott said the girl was not hurt but her lawyer told ABC’s Good Morning America she suffered injuries after being “brutally attacked.”
“She now has a cast on her arm, she has neck and back injuries,” said lawyer Todd Rutherford, who also serves as minority leader in the state’s House of Representatives. “She has a Band-Aid on her forehead where she suffered rug burn.”
Outside Spring Valley High on Wednesday, Kennedy Scott, 15, said her classmates were split in their opinions of Fields’ actions.
“Everybody has a different point of view,” she said.
You have to wonder if this would have come to light if the student had not recorded it on his cellphone, would this had been swept under the rug? Not to mention the obvious racial overtones in this …white cop /black student so it also becomes a civil rights matter, all this because and student refused to put away her cellphone…was it worth all the trouble that followed?