The FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office is now investigating a South Carolina School Resource Officer (SRO) for violently slamming a student to the ground. In the video, Richland County Deputy Ben Fields can be seen violently flipping over the student’s desk, slamming her to the ground, and then ‘hauling’ her off as if she is an animal – not a high school teenager. And in case you are wondering what atrocity the girl committed – she didn’t put her cellphone away when asked – and for that, she was assaulted and led away like trash. When another student expressed her dismay as to what was going on, Deputy Fields threatened to arrested her as well for speaking out.
The investigation comes in the wake of new evidence showing Deputy Ben Fields has a history of violence against minorities and disabled citizens. Though Superintendent Dr. Debbie Ham stated that “Student safety is and always will be the District’s top priority. The District will not tolerate any actions that jeopardize the safety of our students”, numerous students are coming forward with horror stories of Deputy Fields abusing other students. One of those students posted on twitter that she witnessed Deputy Ben Fields slamming a pregnant student to the ground at the same school:
I was coming from lunch and saw Deputy Fields slam that pregnant woman. I was frozen in shock at how he was man handling her.
Deputy Fields’ violence is not limited to students either. Back in 2005, he was caught on video assaulting a disabled veteran. In this incident, Deputy Fields was talking with Carlos Martin regarding a noise complaint. According to Martin, the Deputy snapped after he called him ‘dude’. Deputy Fields then threw Martin to the ground, assaulted him, and used an entire can of pepper spray on Martin.
He became even more violent because I didn’t react like most people would, said Martin.
When Martin’s wife began taking pictures of the assault, Deputy Fields told his partner to, “get her black ass” – at which point the officer began beating his wife and then confiscated her cell phone and deleted most of the pictures she had taken.
I’m watching my wife get beat up in front of me, and there’s nothing I can do about it, Martin said.
When Martin and his wife threatened to sue the deputy for violating their civil rights, Deputy Fields responded by saying, “I’m glad Johnny Cochran is dead“.
In 2013, another student, Ashton James Reese, was expelled from school after getting into an off-campus fight. Deputy Fields accused the student of being in a gang. According to Reese, Deputy Fields made those unfounded accusations solely because Reese is black. His attorney, Reginald Lloyd, stated that, “Fields unfairly and recklessly targets African-American students with allegations of gang membership and criminal gang activity.”
Deputy Fields, who is described by many as ‘The Hulk’, due to his muscular appearance, apparently uses that to intimidate students who do not listen. (In the picture to the left, Deputy Fields is shown bench pressing an estimated 600 pounds). Richland Two Black Parents Association founder, Stephen Gilchrist, said that students have long claimed abuse and intimidation by Deputy Fields, but until now, they had no video evidence to back up those claims.
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott released a statement saying,
I have spoken with the FBI and U.S. Attorney William Nettles today as I travel back from Chicago. Their investigation has begun. I have also consulted with Solicitor Dan Johnson and he agrees that the criminal investigation will be best served with the FBI as the lead agency. We do not want any issues with the community or those involved having questions concerning conflicts of interest in this investigation. SLED has been requested by the school board of Richland 2 and individual legislators to also look into the matter. Solicitor Johnson and I have no issues with SLED assisting the FBI and U.S. Attorney. A complete and thorough investigation is what we both want, as well as the public.