The South Carolina police officer caught on video flipping over a 16-year-old high school student has been fired.
Richland County’s Sheriff’s Deputy Ben Fields violated policy when he violently flipped the student's desk over and dragged her across the classroom, Sheriff Leon Lott said in a press conference.
“That is not a proper technique and should not be used by law enforcement,” Lott said.
The student suffered multiple injuries after the attack.
“She now has a cast on her arm, she has neck and back injuries,” lawyer Todd Rutherford said. “She has a Band-Aid on her forehead where she suffered rug burn."
Lott said the teacher and administrator who oversaw the brutality believed the officer did not act out of line.
“They had no problems with the physical part,” Lott said. “I’m the one who had a problem with it.”
No surprise that the South Carolina police officer, who was caught violently flipping an unidentified high school student's desk over and aggressively body slamming her to the ground, has a history of excessive force with two lawsuits already under his belt.
Richland County’s Sheriff’s Deputy Ben Fields was sued for attacking a Black veteran and faces another lawsuit for racially targeting a Black student.
In 2007, a couple sued Fields, fellow deputy Joseph Clark and Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott under accusations of false arrest, excessive force and violating their free speech rights in 2005.
According to court documents, Fields approached Carlos Edward Martin, who was working as an army medic, over an excessive noise complaint the officer was investigating.
When Martin — still in uniform — called Fields “dude,” he allegedly “snapped” and "slammed him to the ground, cuffed him, began kicking him, and chemically maced him until his clothing was drenched and the contents of the can of mace was [sic] depleted."
"He became even more violent because I didn't react like most people would," Martin told the New York Daily News.
Disappointingly enough, a jury ruled in Fields’ favor.
Fields faces another lawsuit from a former Spring Valley high school student, the school where the outrageous viral video took place.
Ashton James Reese sued Fields and nine others for his allegedly wrongful expulsion for “unlawful assembly of gang activity and assault and battery” in 2013.
Fields accused Reese of participating in a gang fight to unite three school gangs.
Reese claims he is the victim of lack of due process, negligence, negligent supervision and a violation of the right to public education.
Reese’s attorneys cited racial bias in the lawsuit saying Fields “recklessly targets African-American students with allegations of gang membership and criminal gang activity.”
The case is scheduled to go to trial in January 2016.
Fields’ impressively large physique and pattern of aggressive behavior earned him the nickname “The Incredible Hulk” from many Spring Valley High School students.
“We’ve heard students say things over the past few years about Deputy Fields, even from our own children about things he’s done. Obviously we’ve never had video evidence,” Stephen Gilchrist, one of the founding members of the Richland Two Black Parents Association, told the New York Daily News.
After the shocking incident, many students took to Twitter to expose Fields’ aggressive tactics.
I was coming from lunch and saw Deputy Fields slam that pregnant woman. I was frozen in shock at how he was man handling her.— ANM.?? (@FakeAsian__) October 26, 2015
Student in my DMs tells me Ben Fields used to work at the middle school. Did the same thing 2 middle school kids #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh— Black Girl Magic (@HollaBlackGirl) October 26, 2015
Fields, although still employed by the police department, has been placed on administrative leave pending a full investigation.
Rev. Jesse Jackson has called for Fields to be fired, charged and sued for his egregious actions.
The video and other recent footage of police misconduct against adolescents has sparked uproar over how predominantly white officers cops treat Black youth.
“That’s supposed to be somebody that’s going to protect us. Not somebody that we need to be scared of or afraid,” student Tony Robinson Jr, who recorded the incident, told CBS affiliate WLTX.
The job of a police officer is to protect me serve not terrorize and abuse... #BenFields should lose his job— September's Very Own (@ishgotswagg) October 26, 2015
The ongoing violence against minorities in America today sendS a grim message to Black and Brown people that police are not here to protect but here to kill.
Banner photo credit: Reuters