Federal prosecutors won't charge deputy who tossed student

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - 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. Sheriff Lot has released the following statement regarding the incident: 

RCSD has moved forward since the Spring Valley incident and we will continue to do so. We have been involved in using this incident as a positive learning opportunity for law enforcement, schools and the public in defining the roles of SROs and school officials, not only in Richland County but throughout the United States. I hope and pray our Legislators will also use the Spring Valley incident as a vehicle for change in the Disturbing Schools law. Getting SROs out of the roles of discipline and class room management has already made a significant impact.

© 2017 Associated Press


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