Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott partially blamed the unidentified teenager flipped over by a police officer for her brutal assault in a press conference on Wednesday.
“She was very disruptive, she was very disrespectful, and she started this whole incident with her actions,” Lott said. “She refused to leave the class as directed by the teacher, she refused to follow his instructions, he called for assistance from the school administrator, the school administrator got there — he was African American — and he attempted to get her to leave the class also, she refused his instructions and was disrespectful to him.”
Deputy Officer Ben Fields was fired on Wednesday for his actions but Lott reminded media to not overlook that the 16-year-old student should take responsibility for starting the confrontation.
“We must not lose sight that this whole incident was started by this student. She is responsible for the initiation of this action,” Lott said. “There is some responsibility falls on her. The action of our deputy, we take responsibility for that. But we also have to put responsibility on her.”
No matter how disrespectful the student might have been in refusing to turn over her cell phone does not in any way loosen the grip of responsibility and shame that Fields must own up to.
Asking her to take responsibility for her own assault is the epitome of victim-blaming. She didn't listen so Fields took advantage of his power and flipped her desk over, injuring the student severely. She should not have to apologize for Fields' violent, inexcusable response.