Richland County Senior Deputy Ben Fields has been terminated from his position as a resource officer at Spring Valley High in Columbia, SC after throwing a teenager from her desk for using a cell phone in class.
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During a live news conference, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott discussed Fields’ actions, saying the decision to fired him stemmed from a police policy investigation, not a criminal one.
“From the very beginning that’s what’s caused me to be upset, and (which) continued to upset me is that he picked the student up and threw the student across the room,” Lott said.
“Deputy Ben Fields did wrong this past Monday,” he added.
Unfortunately, Lott couldn’t help but place blame on the student, hinting it was her fault Fields used excessive force.
“She wasn’t following orders from the teacher,” Lott said. “They had the Chromebooks out and she was on her phone. She was preventing other students from learning and wasn’t paying attention. She refused to go to the office and disrupted class with her actions.”
He also questioned the school for utilizing law enforcement in the first place.
“We’ll take what he did as a mistake and we’ll learn from that.” Lott said about other resource officers in schools. “You have to do things differently. When they call us we have to take law enforcement actions. If they don’t want us taking law enforcement actions, then we have to question why we’re in schools. Should we have been called then? We don’t know but maybe something could have been done where we didn’t need to be called.”
Lott, however, did commend students who recorded the incident.
The FBI and U.S. Department of Justice have launched an investigation to determine whether the teen’s civil rights were violated.