Spring Valley High School Resource Officer Ben Fields has been fired following the release of a video that went viral Monday.
In the video, the officer grabs a female student by her shoulders, slams her to the floor along with her desk, and drags her several feet before arresting her. According to officials, the 16-year-old girl was being disruptive in the classroom when the teacher asked her to leave the room. When she refused, an administrator got involved, with no results. That’s when Deputy Fields was called in, and the aforementioned confrontation took place.
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott suspended Deputy Ben Fields without pay earlier this week but made the final decision to fire the officer Wednesday.
“There’s no justification for some of his actions,” Lott told CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360°” on Tuesday night.
Niya Kenny, 18, was also arrested that day. She told CNN that the entire altercation started when their math teacher asked her friend – the girl who was arrested in the video – to give up her cell phone. The girl refused and defied both the teacher and administrator, prompting the arrival of Deputy Fields.
“He grabbed her arm, and he put his arm around her neck at first,” Kenny said. “So that’s why you actually see her – if you get the right video – then you’ll see her trying to swing at him.”
Kenny noted that the officer was already well-known in the school for his bad reputation and that her classmates were recording the incident because they suspected something would happen.
Her attorney, Simone Martin, added that she’s learned the officer was often “referred to as Officer Slam as opposed to Officer Fields. And that’s telling.”
Although Sheriff Lott agrees that Fields acted inappropriately and was justifiably fired, he also said that the student must take responsibility for her part in the incident.
“We must not lose sight that this whole incident started by this student,” he said. “She is responsible for initiating this action. Some responsibility falls on her.”
He continues to add: “When a classroom is disrupted by a student, that disrupts the education process and the students can’t learn and the teachers can’t teach. We have to have discipline in our schools.”