COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA — Deputy Ben Fields came under fire on Monday after a viral video showed him slamming a student to the floor at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, South Carolina.
According to the New York Daily News, the unnamed victim, who suffered neck, arm, and back injuries as a result of the incident, was recently orphaned and is currently in foster care.
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott announced in a press conference on Wednesday that Fields was fired after the maneuvers he used were deemed unacceptable, calling it upsetting that the deputy threw the student across the room. He was quick to add, though, that the ‘disrespectful’ and ‘disruptive’ student was also to blame.
This isn’t the first time Fields has been in hot water for using excessive force. CNN reports that in 2007, army veteran Carlos Martin sued him and two others for an incident in which Fields slammed, cuffed, and used an entire can of pepper spray on Martin’s face.
When his wife Tashiana Martin attempted to record the encounter on her phone, she was restrained by another officer.
Fields is also one of 10 defendants in a 2013 suit filed by another Spring Valley High student, Ashton Reese, who alleges that Fields targeted black students. Reese claims he was wrongfully accused of criminal gang activity and unlawfully expelled.
Sheriff Lott defended Fields from allegations of racism, saying he had an African-American girlfriend, and has received awards for his work with students.
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