The officer’s actions started with the student refusing to give her math teacher her cell phone.
The South Carolina deputy who slammed a disruptive student on the floor and tossed her several feet has been fired.
Other students in the classroom at Spring Valley High School caught the incident on video.
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott suspended Deputy Ben Fields without pay, and then fired him Wednesday.
Fields violated police regulations when he threw the girl, the sheriff said.
Fields was the Spring Valley High School resource officer whose actions Monday were recorded by students and ignited a firestorm on social media. Among the criticisms: his admitted use of “muscling techniques” to get the student out of her chair.
But that’s only one part of the story. Federal investigators have gotten involved. Another student arrested from the classroom has spoken out. And the sheriff is criticizing a South Carolina law that he says muddles the role of school resource officers.
Sheriff says student deserves part of blame
Richland County has 87 school resource officers, Lott said, and the “actions by Deputy Fields was not typical of the job I expect them to do.”
Fields did wrong and was fired for his actions, Lott said.
But the student must shoulder responsibility for the disruptive behavior that escalated to the officer being called in, the sheriff said.
“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,” Lott said. “We have to have discipline in our schools.”
What the student did does not justify the officer’s actions, the sheriff said, but she must take responsibility for her role.
“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.”
Sheriff: The student hit the officer
At least three videos have surfaced of the violent arrest at Spring Valley High School. The sheriff said one of the videos shows the girl attacking the officer before the arrest.
“When the officer puts his hands on her initially, she reaches up and she pops the officer with her fist,” he said.
Still, after watching all the footage, Lott told reporters that he “wanted to throw up.”
“There’s no justification for some of his actions,” the sheriff told CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360°” on Tuesday night.
The videos show the officer standing over the student, seated at her desk. He puts his arm near her neck, then yanks her backward. The desk, which is attached to her chair, tips over; the student crashes backward onto the floor.
But Fields didn’t let go, lifting her slightly off the ground. She flies out of her desk and slides several feet across the floor.
Conflicting reports on injuries
Sheriff’s department spokesman Lt. Curtis Wilson said there were no reports of any injuries. And the sheriff said he did not believe the girl was seriously hurt.
“To my knowledge, she wasn’t injured whatsoever,” Lott said. “She might have had a rug burn or something like that, but she was not injured.”
But Todd Rutherford, the student’s attorney, said his client now has to wear a cast on her arm.
The girl also suffered a bruise on her head, her attorney said.
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