Deputy Officer Ben Fields, who assaulted a girl dragging her from her seat to the floor in a classroom at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, South Carolina, has been fired for violating the Richland County Sheriff Department policies. The FBI has been involved in the investigation and the Justice Department has opened up their own probe into the matter.
During a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said the girl should be held accountable for her part. “She is responsible for initiating this action,” he said. “What she did doesn’t justify what the deputy did.”
The girl reportedly suffered arm, neck, back and head injuries, according to her lawyer, Todd Rutherford, who spoke to “Good Morning America” on Wednesday. Police originally said she had a “rug burn.” The girl was reportedly disruptive during class and refused to leave when a teacher asked. Fields was requested to remove the girl from the classroom.
Fields then grabbed and threw her to the ground to place her under arrest. The teacher reportedly supported the actions of Fields, according to Lott.
Another student, Niya Kenny, who was arrested after the altercation said Fields was known for slamming people. “He’s known as Officer Slam around our school and I’ve heard in the past he’s slammed pregnant women and teenaged girls,” said Kenny during an interview with “All In” with Chris Hayes on Tuesday. Kenny was charged with “disturbing school,” which her mother questions.
“Who was really disturbing the school?” Doris Kenny asked. “Was it my daughter or the officer who came into the classroom and did that to the young girl?”
Officer Fields has reportedly been working at the school for seven years, and is “highly respected,” Lott said.
During a press conference Tuesday, Sheriff Lott also said that he does not believe that race played a factor in the case because Fields had been dating “an African-American female” for some time.