The school resource officer who was caught on video violently removing a female student from her desk has been fired.
After an internal investigation on whether Senior Deputy Ben Fields violated the department's policies, Richland County authorities announced that his actions were unacceptable. "From the very beginning, that's what's caused me to be upset, and continued to upset me, is that he picked the student up and threw the student across the room," said Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott.
According to CNN affiliate WIS, the upsetting recording from a student's cell phone at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, SC, starts after the teen was asked to leave the classroom. When she refused, Richland County Sheriff's Deputy Ben Fields was called into the room and can be heard saying, "You're either going to come with me, or I'm going to make you." When the student didn't comply and continued to sit at her desk, the officer grabbed her around the neck, flipped her and the desk backwards, and then threw her across the floor.
Richland School District Two Superintendent Dr. Debbie Hamm released a statement following the incident saying that officials are working with the Richland County Sheriff's Department to investigate the situation. "The district will not tolerate any actions that jeopardize the safety of our students," Hamm said.
The student was released to her parents after the situation and faces a charge of disturbing schools. The officer was originally placed on administrative leave before being fired and told not to return to school during the investigation. While some point out that the video is incomplete and doesn't show what happened before the incident to prompt the officer's response, others feel strongly that his force was inappropriate.
"I can't imagine any justification for treating a child like that in a classroom," Victoria Middleton, the head of South Carolina's ACLU chapter, told CNN. "Whatever led up to it, whatever rationale may be presented, does not justify the force with which that student was treated."