South Carolina Cop Who Dragged Girl Across Classroom Won't Face Charges
The former South Carolina police officer who dragged a black high school girl across a classroom in a jarring viral video will not face criminal charges.
The October 2015 video at Spring Valley High School showed Richland County police officer Ben Fields grabbing a girl who was sitting at her desk, refusing to give up her cell phone. After flipping her and the desk over, he dragged her on the floor across the classroom before telling her to put her hands behind her back.
But Solicitor Dan Johnson said that he found no probable cause to charge Fields with any crimes.
Johnson's 12-page report includes witness accounts, one of which reads "the incident looked worse in the video than it did in the classroom." Fields maintained his stance, stating, "I realized that I was going to have to physically remove the student from her seat to effectuate her arrest."
According to a report from NY Daily News, Ben Fields was fired from the police department after the incident. Sheriff Leon Lott said the video made him want to "throw up," and he called on the FBI and the Justice Department to investigate.
Johnson said that Fields' firing and calls for investigation were "injurious to the prosecution of the case."
NY Daily News reports that the student who recorded the video, Niya Kenny, and the student who was arrested both faced "disturbing schools" charges. The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against the state of South Carolina for the charges; on Friday, Johnson said those charges would be dismissed.
Watch a video of the incident below.