A former school resource officer at a Columbia-area high school has filed a defamation lawsuit against his former boss and school district after federal prosecutors said Friday there is “insufficient evidence” to charge him with civil rights violations.
Former Spring Valley High School SRO Ben Fields was fired from his job with the Richland County Sheriff’s Office in October 2015, after students posted cell phone video of him yanking an uncooperative student out of her desk, dragging her across the floor and tossing her towards a door. The student had been refusing to leave the classroom.
The U.S. Justice Department announced earlier Friday that it had closed its civil rights investigation of Fields. “After a careful and thorough investigation, the team of experienced federal prosecutors and FBI agents determined that the evidence was insufficient to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Fields willfully deprived the Spring Valley High School student of a constitutional right,” the agency stated. “This decision is limited strictly to an application of the high legal standard required to prosecute the case under the federal civil rights statute; it does not reflect an assessment of any other aspect of the incident involving Fields and the Spring Valley High School student.” [Read more…]