Columbia, SC (WJBF) – By now, you’ve probably seen the video. A school resource officer at Spring Valley High School, in Columbia, was asked to remove a female student from class. The teacher and a school administrator had already asked the student to leave and she refused.
The school resource officer in the incident was Senior Deputy Ben Fields, who has been with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department since 2004.
“It wasn’t something he self-initiated. He was asked to remove the student from the classroom. Now, did he do that properly? That’s what we’re going to look at,” said Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott.
The South Carolina NAACP doesn’t Deputy Fields did it properly.
“To be thrown out of her seat as she was thrown, and to be dumped on the floor as she was thrown, I don’t think that was the appropriate way to respond,” said South Carolina NAACP president Dr. Lonnie Randolph.
Civil rights activist tweeted about the videos by posting links to them:
The FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice have opened investigations into whether the girl’s civil rights were violated, or whether any federal law was broken.
We dug into Deputy Field’s history:
He was sued in 2007 for excessive use of force after he confronted Carlos Martin during an investigation of a noise complaint. Martin says Deputy Fields’ unprovoked anger escalated and the deputy slammed him to the ground, kicked him, and sprayed him with an entire can of mace. In the feceral civil suit, however, the jury decided in Deputy Fields’ favor.
Deputy Fields is also one one of several defendants in another lawsuit that’s still pending, but it was not about the use of force. The suit was filed by a former Spring Valley High School student who was expelled for alleged gang activity.
Last year, Deputy Fields was given Richland School District Two’s Culture Of Excellence Award for being an exceptional role model.
Deputy Fields is now on administrative leave, without pay, pending an internal investigation. Sheriff Lott says officials plan to wrap up that investigation Wednesday. Then we may find out if Deputy Fields will stay employed with the Sheriff’s Department.
Richland School District Two officials have already banned Deputy Fields from any school in the district.