Richland County, SC - Ben Fields, the former Richland County Deputy who was fired after video of a recording of him dealing with a disorderly student went viral, was cleared by the U.S. Department Of Justice of any civil right violations, affirming that his use of force was reasonable. Now Ben Fields is suing Sheriff Leon Lott, the Richland County Sheriff's Officer, and Richland School District Two.
On October 26th, 2015, Richland County Sheriff's Deputy Ben Fields was called to a classroom for a disorderly female at Spring Valley High School. Fields was the school resource officer and have previously been recognized by the school district for his excellence. Prior to Field's arrival, a school teacher and administrator had asked the female to leave the classroom because she had been causing a disturbance.
Ben Fields arrived and tried to speak with the student, who refused to cooperate. That's when other students broke out their cameras to record the incident.
After refusing to get up when being asked, Deputy Fields grabbed the female's arm to stand her up. She pulled back and resisted. Deputy Fields then moved in to grab the student's chin, in a common law enforcement control hold. People normally move in the direction that their chin is being pulled and the student should have just stood up, unharmed. Instead, she made a fist and hammered it into the side of the Deputy's head.
You can see the video of the incident here:Deputy Ben Fields remained calm after being hit. The student threw her weight back and between her shifted weight and the Deputy pulling on her, the desk flipped over. Deputy Fields then dragged the female across the floor to a place where he could safely gain control of her.
Make no mistake, Deputy Ben Fields was legally justified in using a lot more force than he did. He was punched in the face, but rather than striking the student back, he acted calmly to get her under control, no doubt taking into account that he was dealing with a female juvenile. Considering the facts and circumstances, there's no reasonable way that Deputy Field's actions could be considered excessive force.
Unfortunately, that's not how most of America saw it. All they saw was a large man grab a female student for no apparent reason, "bodyslam" her to the ground, and violently drag her away. There was a nationwide call for Deputy Fields to be fired and incarcerated. Sheriff Leon Lott is either a fool or a coward and he answered their call. Sheriff Lott fired Deputy Ben Fields over the incident. Subsequent criminal investigations showed that there was no criminal wrongdoing. And now the Department of Justice has decided what was readily apparent in the video, Deputy Ben Fields never used excessive force.
We wish the fired Deputy Ben Fields luck in his lawsuit.
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