POLICE OFFICER WHO ATTACKED TEEN GIRL STUDENT AT SPRING VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL FIRED

Everyone by now has seen the video gone viral of a White police officer attacking a teenage Black girl student on Monday October 26, 2015.

SHERIFF ON VIDEO: “I WANTED TO THROW UP”

11:49 a.m. CDT October 28, 2015

Columbia, SC (WLTX) – Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott will announce the results of an internal investigation into the actions by one of his officers at Spring Valley High School that’s caused a national uproar.

Lott is scheduled to speak at 12 p.m. Wednesday at the sheriff’s department headquarters. UPDATE: Sheriff Lott Fires Deputy – Click Here for Details

Lott said late Tuesday afternoon that an internal investigation was underway to review the actions of Deputy Ben Fields, a school resource officer at Spring Valley. Lott said his officers will look only at whether Fields acted properly under department protocols. Any possible criminal investigation will be handled by federal and state agencies.

“We don’t expect this to draw out,” Lott said.

Lott said the findings would allow him to determine if Fields will continue working for the agency.

RAW VIDEO: All Three Angles of the Incident 

Lott had been in Chicago for a law enforcement conference when the incident, which has made national news, happened. He cut short the trip and flew back to the area early Tuesday morning to deal with the matter personally.He said just like everyone else, he was appalled by the first video that was released.

“I wanted to throw up, it makes you sick to your stomach,” he said. “You can’t watch the video without having those feelings.”

The incident happened inside a math class at the school around 10:30 a.m. Monday. According to Lott, the student was supposed to be working on a project using her computer, but was instead had her cell phone out, perhaps to text. Lott said the girl didn’t comply when her teacher told her multiple times to put away the device. An administrator then came to the class, Lott said, and she continued to refuse to obey their requests. Fields was then called to the room to remove her from the room.

Videos that surfaced online captured part of what happened next. Fields can be heard telling the student to get up. A few moments later, he grabs the student as she was in her seat, causing the girl and the chair to flip over onto the floor. Fields can then be seen dragging the girl for several feet and restraining her on the ground.

Related Coverage:Student Who Videotaped Incident Says He Was Afraid

Lott said he was told the girl didn’t sustain injuries.

The student was charged with disturbing schools and was given over to her parents. Another student in the classroom, 18-year-old Niya Kenny, was also charged with disturbing schools but was booked at the local jail. She was released on bond hours later. Related Coverage:Student Arrested Says She was Standing Up for Classmate

Lott said the girl was in the wrong for not complying with her school officials. He also said a third video has shown that the girl struck the officer as he was attempting to remove her. But Lott said his probe won’t focus on her actions–only the officers.

“What she did is not what I’m looking at,” Lott said.

To fend off any concerns that an internal probe might be a conflict of interest, Lott requested that federal authorities investigate what happened. By midday Tuesday, the FBI and U.S. Attorneys office obliged, saying they’d launch a civil rights probe into the matter.  “I don’t want anybody in Richland County or anywhere in the world to say that this is not being handled properly.” Related Coverage:Feds Open Civil Rights Investigation 

The student is black, while the officer is white, but Lott said despite some suggestions from the public, he doesn’t think race is a factor.

“He’s never expressed that in the past, we’ve never seen that,” Lott said.  The sheriff also pointed out that the officer dates an African-American woman.

Lott oversees a group of 87 school resource officers, who he said are instructors and offer guidance in schools. Fields also works as an assistant coach with the football team.

His officers do receive training in how to de-escalate a situation using only words, but he said often times his officers are put in difficult predicaments, where they are in charge of controlling students when teachers and administrators can’t.

“Should the officer have been called to get involved?” Lott said. “Is it proper to call an SRO in to discipline a child?”

Just before Lott spoke, Richland School District Two officials said they’d review their policies about when it’s appropriate for an officer to respond to a class. They also said they wanted to work with the department to improve training for officers. Related Coverage:Richland Two Leaders Say Incident is ‘Unforgivable’

Dr. Debbie Hamm, the district’s superintendent, said she’s worked in the school system for four decades, and said it’s one of the most upsetting incidents she’s seen.

“It was outrageous and unforgivable and it does not represent what this district stands for,” Hamm said.

“There is absolutely no place in this district for what happened yesterday,” said Richland School District Two Board Chairman Jim Manning. “Our tolerance for it is zero.”

SC NAACP Chairman Dr. Lonnie Randolph said his office was withholding making sweeping statements about what happened until they hear how law enforcement is going to respond.

SOURCE

During the attack, he could be heard in another video yelling to another student, Niya Kenny,  “I’ll put you in jail next.” She was arrested for speaking up and questioning the officer’s brutal use of force.

The two girls were arrested after the confrontation, according to The State, a South Carolina newspaper. They were charged with disturbing the peace and disturbing schools and released to the custody of their parents, according to the television station WLTX. The confrontation drew outrage as the videos spread.

This same officer had been brought up on civil rights violations in 2007 and 2013. On the case for police brutality in 2007, Fields was also sued in federal court in 2007 from his time as a patrol deputy. A jury eventually ruled in Fields’ favor in United States District Court for the District of South Carolina Columbia Division, Civil Action Number: 3:07-3782-JFA;  and the case for racial profiling, which goes to trial  January 27, 2016, United States District Court for the District of South Carolina Columbia Division, Civil Action No.: 3:13-cv-03040-TLW

This Officer Ben Fields who attacked at the School has weight lifting experience. A question I have:  Has he used anabolic steroids in the process of his weight lifting? Steroids have been scientifically and medically proven to cause extreme aggressive behavior.

How is this officer in his behavior around other adults? Other officers? Is he violent and terrifying in his interactions with other human beings?

This officer’s use of force to remove the teen girl from the class.

Anytime force is used, the situation escalates and violence becomes more vicious and destructive.

This officer showed signs of being unable to control his aggressive behavior: grabbing the girl, throwing her violently to the floor, choking her.  All of which are signs that this officer cannot control himself in a situation with another human being.

He should have been arrested for the following:

-Assault with Intent to Commit Bodily Injury;

-Terrorist Threat (against the other teen girl student who became distraught at what was happening in class)

One very important thing I saw in the videos across the Internet is the following—-all of the students in the videos were looking down with their heads in a cowered position:

cow·er
ˈkou(ə)r/
verb
past tense: cowered; past participle: cowered
crouch down in fear.
“children cowered in terror as the shoot-out erupted”

synonyms:

cringe, shrink, crouch, recoil, flinch, pull back, draw back, tremble, shake, quake, blench, quail, grovel

“they cowered at the sound of gunfire”

That is a red flag sign of the environment these students must work in. Schools today are built, operated and controlled as if they are a prison/military complex.

But, as of today, October 28, 2015, this officer has been fired.

_____________________________________

RICHLAND COUNTY DEPUTY FIRED OVER SPRING VALLEY INCIDENT

October 28, 2015 2:57 PM CDT

Columbia, SC (WLTX) – Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott has fired a deputy who forcibly removed a student from a Spring Valley High School classroom, saying the officer used improper techniques in an attempt to restrain the girl.

Lott announced his decision on the fate of Deputy Ben Fields Wednesday afternoon following an internal investigation. Lott said the formal decision to terminate fields was made around 11:30 a.m.

“Deputy Ben Fields did wrong this past Monday,” Lott said. “It’s not what I expect from my deputies, or what I tolerate from my deputies.”

That probe’s purpose was only to determine if Fields followed proper protocol in dealing with the student; separate investigations, led by the FBI, the U.S. Attorneys office, and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, will determine if there was criminal activity.

Lott said the decision was not hard to make, and was based on the evidence that was collected from witness interviews and at least three cell phone recordings of the incident.

Around 10:30 a.m. Monday, students were sitting inside a math class at Spring Valley and were working on their assignments. Lott says one girl in the class had her phone out instead of working on her project. The sheriff said the girl was told multiple times by her teacher to put the phone away, but she refused. According to the sheriff, an administrator then came to the classroom, and the girl refused his requests to comply.

VIDEO: All Three Angles of Spring Valley Incident

VIDEO: All Three Angles of Spring Valley Incident WLTX

At that point, Fields was called to the classroom to remove the girl.

“She was not allowing the teacher to teach and not allowing the students to learn,” Lott said, calling the student very disruptive. “Their education was put on hold while this student had to be dealt with.”

Videos that surfaced online captured part of what happened next. Fields can be heard telling the student to get up. A few moments later, he grabs the student as she was in her seat, causing the girl and the chair to flip over onto the floor. Fields can then be seen dragging the girl for several feet and restraining her on the ground.

Lott said the deputy had the right to put his hands on the student, but that when he threw the girl across the room, that’s when he violated training.

“The maneuver that he used was not based on training or was acceptable,” Lott said. “He was not trained to throw the student…when he threw her across the room he lost control of her.”

Lott said the teacher and an administrator both told him that they supported the actions of Deputy Fields, and he’d received calls of support from parents and students. In the end, Lott said that didn’t matter. “My decision was based on what he did as a deputy sheriff.”

Lott said he had spoken with Fields, and said he believes it wasn’t the officer’s intent, and that the man felt he was doing his job. “If he probably had to do it over again, he’d probably do it different,” Lott said.

PHOTOS: Spring Valley High School Incident

The sheriff said Tuesday he didn’t believe the girl suffered any injuries, but in an interview with News19 Wednesday, attorney Todd Rutherford, who’s representing the student, said she was hospitalized, and currently has a cast on her arm. Rutherford also said the girl is experiencing problems with her back. Related Coverage: Student in Video is Injured, is Wearing a Cast

When asked about the discrepancy, Lott said Wednesday that was the information he had been given by the officer and school administrators.

The girl was charged with disturbing schools, a broadly defined law in South Carolina that allows officers to arrest students for a wide range of minor offenses related to disrupting the daily activities of class. It is a misdemeanor.

The girl was then released to the custody of her guardians. A second student in the class, 18-year-old Niya Kenny, was also arrested on a disturbing schools charge. Lott said the girl used foul language and was also stopping learning from taking place, but Kenny said she was trying to stand up for her classroom. Previous Coverage: Arrested Student Said She Was Standing Up for Classmate

“I had never seen nothing like that in my life, a man use that much force on a little girl,” Kenny told News19 Monday night following her release from jail. “A big man, like 300 pounds of full muscle. I was like ‘no way, no way.’ You can’t do nothing like that to a little girl. I’m talking about she’s like 5’6′.”

Lott says he still feels like both the students did wrong, disrupted the class, and need to be held accountable for their actions. He said at this point, there are no plans to drop the charges against them.

Tony Robinson Jr., one of the other students in the classroom, saw something brewing, was one of those who pulled out his cell phone and recorded the event.

“I’ve never seen anything so nasty looking, so sick to the point that you know, other students are turning away, don’t know what to do, and are just scared for their lives,” Robinson said. “That’s supposed to be somebody that’s going to protect us. Not somebody that we need to be scare off, or afraid.” Previous Coverage:Student Says He Was Afraid for His Life

Tony Robinson Jr. spoke exclusively with News19 Monday night about what happened between a student and an officer. WLTX

But another student who recorded the incident, who wanted to remain anonymous, told News19 that the officer was just trying to do his job. “Everybody was commenting on something and they weren’t there,” he said. “They don’t know the full story. I wanted to at least take some of the pressure off of him.” Previous Coverage:Student Says Deputy Was Trying to Do His Job

Lott was grateful for the videos that were made of the incident. “Videos are something that we welcome,” he said. “Hopefully one day soon we’ll have them on all of our deputies.”

Richland School District Two, the system over Spring Valley, officials said they’d review their policies about when it’s appropriate for an officer to respond to a class. They also said they wanted to work with the department to improve training for officers. Related Coverage: Richland Two Leaders Say Incident is ‘Unforgivable’

Dr. Debbie Hamm, the district’s superintendent,released this statement after Lott’s decision:

“I want to thank Sheriff Lott and his department for their swift response. There may be some who think this is the end of the matter. In Richland Two, however, we continue to work closely with the Sheriff’s Department and independent federal and state investigating agencies to examine exactly what happened.

“We know important work is ahead of us as we thoughtfully and carefully review the decision-making process that may lead to a school resource officer taking the lead in handling a student disruption. Conversations that have already started will continue around how we work with the sheriff’s department on improvement and coordination of our work as educators and their work as law enforcement officers.

“Our primary goal is to de-escalate situations through problem-solving and communication techniques, while avoiding actions that escalate and result in unfortunate confrontations. We will continue to move forward with this approach.”

 

Full Coverage:

Raw Video: Deputy, Student Confrontation in Classroom

Raw Video: Instagram Video of the Incident

Raw Video: First Video That Surfaced of the Confrontation

Teen Who Videotaped Incident Says He was ‘Scared for His Life’

Student Arrested Says She Was Standing Up for Classmate

Student Says Deputy was Doing His Job

Lawyer: Student in Deputy Video Injured, is in a Cast

Richland Two Leaders Say Incident is ‘Unforgivable’ 

Feds Open Civil Rights Investigation 

Deputy in Incident Had Been Sued Before

SC NAACP Waiting to See How Law Enforcement Responds

SOURCE

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s