RICHLAND COUNTY, S.C. -- (WMBF) -- Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said on Wednesday he has fired school resource officer Ben Fields after his actions inside a Spring Valley High School classroom on Monday.
The sheriff's department conducted a swift internal affairs investigation after shocking videos surfaced that showed Fields slamming and dragging a female student in a math class on Monday afternoon.
"The maneuver that he [Fields] used was not based on the training and was not acceptable," Lott said when revealing the findings of the investigation 48 hours after the incident occurred. "Deputy Ben Fields did wrong this past Monday, and we're taking action for that."
Lott made a point to say the student should also be held accountable for her actions. "The student was not allowing the teacher to teach and not allowing the students to learn," Lott said. "This incident started with a big, disruptive student in a class ... she started this whole incident with her actions."
"What she did does not justify what the deputy did," Lott continued.
The investigation found Fields followed procedure to a certain point. "He was allowed to put his hands on her. He told her she was under arrest. Then he threw her across the room, he did not follow proper procedure," Lott said.
A teacher and an administrator who witnessed the incident supported Fields and said he acted appropriately.
"What he should not have done was throw the student," the sheriff said. "When he threw her across the room, he lost control of her. That's not acceptable."
When Lott was asked by a member of the media if Fields was remorseful about the incident, he said the now former deputy was not. "He is sorry that this whole thing occurred," Lott said. "It was not his intent. He tried to do his job and that's what he feels like he did. It happened very quickly."
Mesa County / Grand Junction Daily Sentinel