Update: Students at Spring Valley High School have staged a protest in support of Ben Fields, the Richland County, SC, officer who was fired after he was caught on camera violently throwing a student to the ground. About a hundred students reportedly walked out of their classrooms, chanting, “Free Fields!” Photographs show students wearing shirts emblazoned with the same phrase, as well as the hashtag “#bringbackfields.” The students gathered in the school atrium for about 10 minutes before returning to class.
October 28, 2015: Ben Fields, the officer caught on camera slamming a student to the floor and throwing her several feet, has been fired. The incident, filmed by several other students in the class, took place earlier this week in South Carolina. In a press conference this morning, Sheriff Leon Lott held a press conference where he announced the firing, saying that the deputy officer had not behaved according to his training.
This article was originally posted on October 26, 2015.
Authorities in Richland County, S.C., are conducting an investigation into video appearing to show Sheriff's Deputy Ben Fields throwing a student to the floor, local station WIS-TV reports. In a video posted hours after the incident took place, Fields can be seen grabbing a student by her arm while she sits at her desk. Fields then flips the student — a Black teenager — and her desk onto the ground before tossing the student across the room and instructing her to “gimme the hands."
Fields has a history of incidents with the student community. He currently faces a federal lawsuit for an alleged violation of a Spring Valley Student High School student’s civil rights. The lawsuit, which you can see on Heavy, says Fields “recklessly targets African-American students with allegations of gang membership and criminal gang activity.” The trial is set to begin January 27, 2016. A local group, the Richland Two Black Parents Association, spoke out against the intolerance present in their community in a statement. National civil-rights groups have also called for an investigation into Fields' conduct. "Parents are heartbroken as this is just another example of the intolerance that continues to be of issue in Richland School District Two particularly with families and children of color," the group said. "As we have stated in the past, we stand ready to work in collaboration to address these horrible acts of violence and inequities among our children.” Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott says that the school resource officer acted because the student refused to leave class. “The student was told she was under arrest for disturbing school and given instructions, which she again refused," Lott told WIS-TV on Monday. "The video then shows the student resisting and being arrested by the SRO." Lott also requested that federal investigators look into the incident. "It's very disturbing what happened. It's something I have to deal with and that's what we're going to be doing," Lott told WTLX. Dr. Debbie Hamm, superintendent of Richland School District Two, said in a statement on Monday that "the District has directed that the school resource officer not return to any school in the District."