Videos of a police officer jerking a high school student from her chair and tossing her across the room was all the proof the sheriff needed to fire the officer.
According to Sheriff Lott, the officer, Deputy Ben Fields, had been sent to Spring Valley High School in order to arrest the student who was in her math class at the time.
Several students were able to use their cell phones to video the scene. The footage has launched an investigation by the FBI, The Justice Department’s Office of Civil Rights, and he U.S. Attorney’s office in Columbia, S.C.
Fields was no stranger to the school. Not only had he been the deputy officially posted to the school for the past seven years, but he also helped out by working as the assistant football coach. Now, Fields has been banned from the school’s property.
When questioned, the adults present in the room Fields did respond quickly to reports that the student was being disruptive, but Sheriff Lott can’t approve of the way Fields’ handled the matter.
“What she does is not what I’m looking at; what I’m looking at is what our student resource officer did,” Lott said. “He was wrong in his actions and it was not what I expect of my deputies Deputy Fields did not follow proper training or procedures when he threw the student across the room. It continues to upset me that he picked the student up and threw her.”
Despite all the media attention, the student continues to face charges that include disrupting the classroom, which in South Carolina, is a misdemeanor. It’s a charge that carries a maximum penalty of a $1,000 fine or 90 days in a county jail. The student’s side of the case will be handled by the Family Court since she’s a minor. According to the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice, charges of disturbing schools are the 3rd most frequent crimes committed in the state.
Although he is sorry for the way that Fields’ handled the arrest, Lott doesn’t condone the girl’s behavior. “She is responsible for initiating this action,” Lott said. “Some responsibility falls on her. The action of our deputy, we take responsibility for that. What she did doesn’t justify what our deputy did. But she needs to be held responsible for what she did.”
“I think that this is a perfect example of how a police department should handle a situation that involved police brutality,” said Attorney Joseph Sandefur of South Carolina’s top personal injury firm. “I hope that if anyone ever finds themselves in a position like this young woman did, that they take instant action against the police officer in question. It may be the only way to remind officers who engage in brutal actions that we don’t live in a police state.”
If you were injured as a result of police brutality in South Carolina, you need to contact joeandmartin.com right away and start putting together a civil personal injury lawsuit.