The Latest: Deputy who tossed student sues for defamation
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The Latest on federal prosecutors not charging South Carolina deputy (all times local):
A South Carolina deputy cleared of any criminal charges for tossing a student onto the floor while she was still sitting in her desk is suing the sheriff who fired him for defamation.
In his lawsuit, deputy Ben Fields says his reputation has been ruined and he can’t find a job without additional training because of what Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said about him. Fields is also suing the sheriff’s department and Richland 2 School District.
Lott has said he wanted to throw up after he saw the video of Fields throwing the Spring Valley High School student. The video was taken by another student and posted online in October 2015. Fields says the student struck him in the face before he took action.
Fields’ lawsuit says an internal affairs investigator determined Fields was justified and didn’t violate police policy, but Lott fired him anyway.
The lawyer for a South Carolina deputy fired after being videotaped tossing a South Carolina high school student sitting in her desk says the officer wants to work in law enforcement again.
Attorney Scott Hayes says deputy Ben Fields felt vindicated when federal prosecutors announced Friday that they would not charge him with civil rights violations. State prosecutors cleared him of criminal charges last year.
Hayes says Fields has always felt he used a justifiable amount of force because the student hit him in the face after she refused to give up her cellphone at Spring Valley High School in Columbia in October 2015.
Hayes says Fields is a good officer and he hopes the deputy gets a chance to work in law enforcement again.
Fields was fired after Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott saw the video and said he wanted to throw up.
Federal prosecutors say they will not charge a deputy who was videotaped tossing a South Carolina high school student across a classroom after she refused to give him her cellphone.
The U.S. Justice Department said in a news release that Richland County deputy Ben Fields did not intend to violate the Spring Valley High School student’s civil rights during the October 2015 confrontation.
Prosecutors say they can’t charge someone with a civil rights violation for using poor judgment or making a mistake.
State prosecutors also decided not to charge Fields, who was the police officer assigned to the Columbia high school.
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott fired Fields, saying the video made him want to throw up.