The white South Carolina cop who triggered national outrage after tossing a black school student from her desk and across a classroom will not face criminal charges.
According to the prosecutors, the incident looked “worse in the video.”
via NY Daily News:
Ben Fields, a former Richland County police officer, was booted off the force after he was caught on camera ordering a Spring Valley high school student to give up her phone in October.
What happened after that turned Ben Fields’ name into a nationwide hate-object.
After the female student refused to surrender her phone, Fields wrapped his forearm around her neck, then flipped her and her desk backwards before dragging her along the classroom floor while keeping her in a tight headlock. Fields then cuffed the student as her classmates shrieked and cried in shock.
In a confusing twist of words, Solicitor Dan Johnson said in a 12-page court report Friday that he found no probable cause to charge the disgraced school resource officer.
Johnson’s report includes statements from a slew of witnesses — one of whom said “the incident looked worse in the video than it did in the classroom.”
The report also included a formal account from Fields himself and he appears to have no regrets about his outrageous actions.
“I realized that I was going to have to physically remove the student from her seat to effectuate her arrest,” he said, adding that the desk only flipped over because the student locked her legs inside it.
Fields’ supervisor, Sheriff Leon Lott — who said he wanted to “throw up” upon seeing the video — was so outraged by his deputy’s behavior that he fired him and called on the FBI and the Justice Department for help.
However, Johnson said Lott’s firm stance might have hampered the case against Fields.
“These administrative actions, taken prior to the completion of the investigation, have been injurious to the prosecution of the case,” Johnson said in the report.
To many people’s outrage, the girl who recorded the stunning video, Niya Kenny, was arrested after questioning Fields’ conduct.
Both Kenny and the student Fields threw across the classroom have faced “disturbing schools” charges for nearly a year. But on Friday, Johnson said those would be dismissed as well.
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed suit against the state of South Carolina over such charges, calling them criminalization of “regular adolescent behavior.”
“The ACLU has found that hundreds of students … are being charged under a far-reaching and nebulous statute,” the advocacy group said in an Aug. 11 press release.
“The statute also has a chilling effect on students who speak out against policing abuses within schools. Black students are nearly four times as likely to be targeted under the law.”