SC sheriff fires officer who threw student across a classroom

28 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Deputy Fired for Body-Slamming Female Student: ‘Throwing Someone Across the Room Is Not Something That We Teach’.

During a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott confirmed that Deputy Ben Fields – the officer who’s come under fire for violently taking down a teenage girl inside Spring Valley High School in Columbia, South Carolina – has lost his job.COLUMBIA, S.C. – A deputy was fired Wednesday after video showed him flipping a teen backward out of her desk and tossing her across a classroom, with the sheriff saying the officer did not follow proper procedures and training.U.S. federal authorities said yesterday they are investigating whether a deputy’s arrest of a student who refused to leave her high school math class violated federal civil rights laws.

Calls for swift action rose almost immediately after the videos of Monday’s arrest appeared on the Internet, and the sheriff suspended the deputy without pay before firing him altogether. Lott praised the FBI for agreeing to investigate whether civil rights were violated, and school district officials for promising to review how police are used for discipline. “They need to understand that when they call us, we’re going to take a law enforcement action,” Lott said. “Maybe that ought to have been something handled by the school without ever calling the deputy.” The sheriff also had stern words for the student who started the confrontation by refusing to hand over her cellphone after her math teacher saw her texting in class — a violation of school policy. Both she and another student who verbally challenged the officer’s actions during the arrest still face charges of disturbing schools. “The student was not allowing the teacher to teach and not allowing the students to learn. He tried to do his job, it happened very quickly…but his actions were something that, if he had to do it over again, he’d probably do things different.” • Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? But she also needs to be held responsible for what she did.” “I can’t fix problems if I don’t know about it,” Lott said. “I would say that every citizen with a camera, if they see something that’s going on that disturbs them, they should film it.

If criminal counts are eventually filed against Fields, Lott said those charges will be brought by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is conducting its own independent investigation into what happened at the school. The confrontation was captured on cellphones 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. During the press conference, Lott repeatedly refused to back away from blaming the student for her role in exacerbating Monday’s incident. “Her actions were disruptive and she wasn’t following her teacher’s instructions,” he said. 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.

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. And when you do have to put your hands on someone, there are other techniques we use.” An expelled student has claimed Fields targeted blacks and falsely accused him of being a gang member in 2013, court records show. Some, black and white alike, said 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. “If that was my daughter … that officer being fired would be the least of his worries,” Conwell said. “We are sick and tired of black women being abused.

Lott told reporters Tuesday that another video of the incident surfaced, showing the female student “reach up and pop” the officer in the face with her fist. Asked about the discrepancy, Lott said officers at the scene and school administrators hadn’t told him about any injuries, and “what she had once she obtained an attorney is a different matter.” More than a dozen parents and community members vented their anger at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.

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