South Carolina Deputy Fired After Throwing Student Across Classroom
By: Erin Johnson, Xiro Xone News October 28, 2015
Richland County Senior Deputy Ben Fields was fired late Wednesday morning after video showed him flipping a teen backward out of her desk and tossing her across a classroom. Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said Fields did not follow proper procedures and training.
Fields had been a school resource officer at Spring Valley High School. The student was being disruptive and refused to leave the classroom despite being told by a teacher and administrator to do so, Lott said, and that's when Fields was brought in Monday to remove her from the class. She again refused, and Fields told her she was under arrest, Lott said.
The call for Fields to be fired began mounting almost immediately after the video surfaced, and the FBI began a civil rights investigation at Lott's request. The confrontation was captured on cell phones by students, one of whom said it all started when the girl pulled out her cellphone
and refused her math teacher's attempt to take it away during class.
"She now has a cast on her arm, she has neck and back injuries. She has a Band-Aid on her forehead where she suffered rug burn on her forehead," Columbia attorney Todd Rutherford, who is representing the teen, told ABC's "Good Morning America" on Wednesday.
Sheriff Leon Lott had said Tuesday that the girl was uninjured in the confrontation but "may have had a rug burn."
The sheriff suspended Fields without pay Monday. Lott, who rushed home from an out of town conference when the news broke, said that a teacher and vice principal in the classroom at the time felt the officer acted appropriately.
Over a dozen parents and community members spoke out at a Tuesday night meeting of the Richland 2 School District. The issue wasn't based on race, and while the officer may have used unnecessary force, the whole incident shows that teachers and administrators need to work harder on finding ways to handle defiant students.