An attorney who is representing the former Richland County deputy dismissed for his violent arrest of a Columbia high school student this week, says the deputy’s actions were justified under the circumstances.
The statement defended Ben Fields, saying the officer was justified in forcibly removing a non-compliant student from the classroom. The resulting takedown went viral nationwide after other students recorded the arrest on their cell phones.
“We believe that Mr. Fields’ actions were justified and lawful throughout the circumstances of which he was confronted during this incident,” the attorney Scott Hayes wrote. “To that extent, we believe that Mr. Fields’ actions were carried out professionally and that he was performing his job duties within the legal threshold.”
Sheriff Leon Lott fired Fields Wednesday morning, saying the school resource officer did not follow the department’s guidelines when he arrested the student. While Lott said Fields was justified in using force to get the student out of her chair, the sheriff said his deputy violated training and procedures by flinging her towards the door after the desk had flipped in the struggle.