(COLUMBIA, S.C.) — The school resource officer at a South Carolina high school who was filmed tossing a teen from her desk and dragging her during an arrest has been fired, officials announced Wednesday.
That officer, identified by the Richland County Sheriff’s office as Ben Fields, was initially put on unpaid leave after the video surfaced this week.
Wednesday’s announcement comes after Sheriff Leon Lott said on Tuesday that an internal investigation would determine whether Fields would be fired. He said that the internal investigation determined that he was not wrong to try and remove the student from the classroom, after being asked to do so from the teacher and a school administrator, but the problem came in how he attempted to do that.
“I do not feel that the proper procedures were used at that point,” Lott said Wednesday of how Fields tried to remove the student.
Lott noted that Fields was in his right to “put his hands on her” but it was how he tried to remove her after that. Lott said that his procedure “continues to upset me when I see that video.”
“That is not a proper technique and should not be used in law enforcement,” Lott said during Wednesday’s news conference.
The sheriff’s department’s internal investigation unit were the ones that reported to Lott that Fields did not follow proper procedure, and there is a criminal investigation underway by the FBI.
The female student’s attorney told ABC News Wednesday that she suffered injuries to her head, arm, neck and back during the incident.
Lott said that while the disruptive student does hold some responsibility for what happened in the Columbia classroom on Monday, but “what she did doesn’t justify what our deputy did.”
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