Tag Archives: Ben Fields

South Carolina Sheriff Fires Deputy in Student Assault Investigation

School Resource Officer and Richland County Senior Deputy Ben Fields was fired on Wednesday, after a video that showed him assaulting a female student in a classroom at Spring Valley High School went viral on Monday.

During a press conference at noon on Wednesday, Sheriff Leon Lott said that Fields was terminated from the Richland County Sheriff’s department for violating policy and not using the proper techniques to arrest a student.

“Once he put her hands on her, he was allowed to do that,”  Lott said. “He placed her under arrest, he verbally told her that she was under arrest, he attempted to use force to make the arrest.”

[RELATED: Investigation Requested after Video shows Resource Officer Assaulting Student]

Lott explained that the “maneuver” used by Fields in which he flipped the student out of her desk and then threw her across the classroom, was not one that was taught in law enforcement training.

“That’s what caused me to be upset when I first saw that video, and what continues to upset me when I see that video, is the fact that he picked the student up and he threw the student across the room,” Lott said.

“That is not a proper technique and should not be used in law enforcement, and based on that, it is a violation of policy and approximately 20 minutes ago, school resource officer Ben Fields was terminated from the Richland County Sheriff’s department.”

Lott also said, however, that the student “was very disruptive” and disrespectful.

“We must not lose sight that this whole incident was started by this student. She is responsible for the initiation of this action. There is some responsibility falls on her. The action of our deputy, we take responsibility for that. But we also have to put responsibility on her,” he said.

Videos of the incident were released on Monday, and Lott requested that the FBI and the DoJ begin an independent investigation into Fields’ actions at Spring Valley High School. Federal authorities confirmed on Tuesday that the agencies have opened a civil rights probe into the arrest to determine if federal law was broken.

[RELATED: Officer in Student Assault Investigation Accused of Pepper Spraying Vet in 2005]

During a news conference on Tuesday, Lott said that in order to make a decision about Fields’ employment, the department needed to look at the whole picture.

“That’s not fair to fire somebody immediately when you have a snapshot of something. You have to do the investigation and get all the facts,” Lott said. “Again, from one snapshot, we saw one video that showed one thing, and then we get another video that shows her actually punching him.”

Lott said the department obtained an additional video showing the student punching Fields during the confrontation. However, that video has not been publicly released.

Officer in Student Assault Investigation Accused of Pepper Spraying Vet in 2005

The South Carolina deputy who is under investigation after videos circulated online showing him assaulting a female student in a classroom has a history of violence, according to a man who said he was assaulted by the officer in 2005.

Carlos Martin, a 36-year-old Army veteran, told New York Daily News that he filed a lawsuit against Ben Fields, the officer identified in the videos, after he was allegedly assaulted by Fields on Oct. 24, 2005.

Martin said that he had recently moved to Columbia, South Carolina, and was working at the Moncrief Army Community Hospital at Fort Jackson.

Fields, who had been responding to a separate complaint at the apartment complex Martin resided in, reportedly confronted Martin about playing loud music in his car.

Martin told the New York Daily News that an argument ensued, and Fields “snapped” after Martin called him “dude,” and slammed Martin on the ground.

Martin said Fields went on to use pepper spray on him and ended up using the entire can, which Martin said he was able to resist because of his military training. “He became even more violent because I didn’t react like most people would,” Martin explained.

Martin also said that his wife at the time, Tashiana Rogers, witnessed the assault, and came to the scene to take pictures with her cellphone. Martin claimed Fields told his partner to “get her black ass,” and the officer responded by taking Rogers’ phone and deleting the pictures.

Martin said that although he filed a lawsuit against Fields, and criminal charges against Martin and Rogers were ultimately dropped, it took four years for Martin’s case to go to trial. During that time, he was labeled as a criminal in the military. The lawsuit was eventually dropped due to lack of evidence of excessive force.

[RELATED: Investigation Requested After Video Shows Resource Officer Assaulting Student]

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott announced on Monday that he requested the FBI launch an independent investigation into Fields’ actions at Spring Valley High School. Federal authorities confirmed on Tuesday that both the FBI and the DoJ have opened a civil rights probe into the arrest to determine if federal law was broken.