One of the videostaken as a school resource officer slammed a student sitting at her desk at aSouth Carolina high school also shows her punching the deputy during theconfrontation, authorities said Tuesday.
That video, describedby Sheriff Leon Lott as the “third video,” will play a part in theinternal affairs investigation into whether Senior Deputy Ben Fields violatedpolicy in Monday\’s incident at Spring Valley High School in Columbia.
The Justice Departmentand the FBI announced Tuesday they would open their own investigations intowhether the girl\’s civil rights were violated. The South Carolina LawEnforcement Division is also conducting a separate probe.
Lott told reportersTuesday that his department\’s internal investigation should be completed withinthe next 24 hours, when he will announce Fields\’ fate with the agency.
“I wanted tothrow up,” Lott said after first viewing footage of the incident.”This makes you sick to your stomach when you see that initial video. Butthat\’s just a snapshot.”
Lott also said hedoesn\’t believe race was a factor in what happened – and noted that Fields hasbeen dating an African-American woman for “quite some time.”
Yet Fields – whomstudents allegedly referred to as “Officer Slam” – has also been thesubject of previous excessive force and racial bias allegations.
A teacher hadcomplained that the student, who has not been identified, was being unrulyduring class and refused to leave even after an administrator was called in.
“The student waswrong in what she did – she disrupted class, she was disturbing the othersstudents from getting an education. But does her actions meet the level of whatthis officer did?” Lott asked. “That\’s what we\’re going to decide.”
Fields in the videosshared on social media stands in front of the student, and orders her to standup or be forcibly removed. She refuses to leave. Fields is then seenbody-slamming the student to the ground while she\’s still in her seat, and thendragging her and her desk across the floor.
In the third videoviewed by police, Lott said, it shows the girl hitting the officer in the headonce he puts his hands on her: “There\’s no question about that.”
The female student inthe video as well as a second student – identified as Niya Kenny – was arrestedfor “contributing to the chaos,” Lott added.
Kenny, who admits thatshe was “using a few F-bombs” during the confrontation, said Fieldsis known in the school for being physical.
“We already knowhis reputation, and I felt something bad was going to go down,” Kenny saidwhen the deputy walked into the classroom, adding, “He\’s known as OfficerSlam.”