US police officer fired for student assault in South Carolina

The BBC is reporting that a US police officer has been fired after video showing him throwing a female student across a classroom was shared widely on the internet.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said that Senior Deputy Ben Fields “did not follow proper procedure”.

He was a school resource officer at the school in South Carolina.

He “should not have thrown a student – he could have done a lot of things he was trained to do, he was not trained to throw a student”, Sheriff Lott said…

Mr Lott said he had received expressions of support for the officer, who had been at the school seven years, from some parents and school officials. Officer Fields had received a “Culture of Excellence” award last year by an elementary school where he was also assigned. 

But Sheriff Lott said the officer had “lost control” and had not dealt with this incident correctly.

“That is not a proper technique and should not be used in law enforcement. And based on that, that is a violation of our policy and approximately 20 minutes ago Officer Ben Fields was terminated from the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.”

He said complaints had been made about Officer Fields during his time at the school – some had been upheld and some had not. 

Legal action has been taken three times against the officer, according to Associated Press news agency:

  • In January, Mr Fields will stand trial in the case of an expelled student who claims he targeted blacks and falsely accused him of being a gang member in 2013
  • In 2005, a federal jury found in Officer Fields’ favour after a black couple accused him of excessive force and battery during a noise complaint arrest
  • Another lawsuit, dismissed in 2009, involved a woman who accused him of battery and violating her rights during a 2006 arrest

The deputy has not been criminally charged but the Federal Bureau of Investigation and justice department have opened a civil rights investigation into the arrest…

More at: US police officer fired for student assault in South Carolina

 

Apparently students at the school have also tweeted claims they have seen Fields behaving in a similar manner in the past, but that this was the first time such an incident was caught on camera. 

 

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