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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A deputy was fired Wednesday after video showed him flipping a teen backward out of her desk and tossing her across a classroom, with the sheriff saying the officer did not follow proper procedures and training.
Richland County Senior Deputy Ben Fields was told of his firing late Wednesday morning, Sheriff Leon Lott said. Lott said he would not describe the now-former resource officer at Spring Valley High School as remorseful, but that Fields was sorry the incident happened and tried to do his job.
The student was being disruptive and refused to leave the classroom despite being told by a teacher and administrator to do so, Lott said, and that’s when Fields was brought in Monday to remove her from the class. She again refused, and Fields told her she was under arrest, Lott said.
She continued to refuse, and video shows the deputy flipping the teen backward and then throwing her across the room. At that point, Lott said, Fields did not use proper procedure.
“I can tell you what he should not have done: He should not have thrown that student,” Lott said during a news conference.
The agency’s training unit looked at video of the incident and determined Fields did not follow proper training and procedure, the sheriff said.
Lott said he would not release Fields’ personnel file, saying only that some complaints have been filed in the past against him, none of which came from the school district.
Court records show at least three complaints, though Fields prevailed in two of those cases.
Trial is set for January in the case of an expelled student who claims Fields targeted blacks and falsely accused him of being a gang member in 2013. In another case, a federal jury sided with Fields after a black couple accused him of excessive force and battery during a noise complaint arrest in 2005. A third lawsuit, dismissed in 2009, involved a woman who accused him of battery and violating her rights during a 2006 arrest.
Calls for Fields to be fired began mounting almost immediately after the video surfaced, and the FBI began a federal civil rights investigation at Lott’s request. The confrontation was captured on cellphones by students, one of whom said it all started when the girl pulled out her cellphone and refused her math teacher’s attempt to take it away during class.
Lott had said Tuesday that the girl was uninjured in the confrontation but “may have had a rug burn.” However, her attorney contradicted that.
“She now has a cast on her arm, she has neck and back injuries. She has a Band-Aid on her forehead where she suffered rug burn on her forehead,” Columbia attorney Todd Rutherford told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Wednesday.
The sheriff suspended Fields without pay Monday. Lott, who rushed home from an out of town conference when the news broke, said that a teacher and vice principal in the classroom at the time felt the officer acted appropriately.
Email, phone and text messages for Fields have not been returned.
More than a dozen parents and community members spoke out at a Tuesday night meeting of the Richland 2 School District. Some, black and white alike, said that the issue wasn’t based on race and that the incident shows that teachers and administrators need to work harder on finding ways to handle defiant students.
Craig Conwell was angry, imploring board members to take action and saying Fields should have been fired immediately.
“If that was my daughter … that officer being fired would be the least of his worries,” Conwell said. “We are sick and tired of black women being abused. You can say it’s not racist all you want to.”
The deputy also arrested a second girl who verbally objected to his actions. Both girls were charged with disturbing schools and released to their parents. Their names were not officially released.
The second student, Niya Kenny, told WLTX-TV that she felt she had to say something. Doris Kenny said she’s proud her daughter was “brave enough to speak out against what was going on.”
Lott said the charges against the two students would not be dropped and would be dealt with at a later date. However, he commended the students who recorded the incident, saying he encouraged citizens to record authorities and bring it to his attention if they think something is wrong.
“I can’t fix problems if I don’t know about it,” Lott said.
Sheriff’s officials have stressed that the incident was not an issue of race. But a local NAACP official, who praised the Justice Department for investigating, said this was not something white students had to deal with.
“To be thrown out of her seat as she was thrown, and dumped on the floor … I don’t ever recall a female student who is not of color (being treated this way),” South Carolina’s NAACP president, Lonnie Randolph Jr., said Tuesday.
Kinnard can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP .
Six officers — three black and three white — are charged in Gray’s arrest and death. Officer William Porter will go on trial first.
Gray, a 25-year-old black man, was being transported to jail on April 21st when he suffered multiple injuries that lead to his death a week later. Mass protests followed in Baltimore over Gray’s treatment by the police.
Porter is charged with manslaughter, assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. Prosecutors accuse him of failing to provide or request medical care for Gray and not securing him safely in a van.
Prosecutors said they intend to call Porter as a witness against at least two other officers.
The officers face charges ranging from second-degree assault to second-degree “depraved-heart” murder.
The cause of Bobbi Kristina Brown’s death has been revealed, but it will be a bit before the public is made aware of it.
According to TMZ, the Fulton County Medical Examiner knows exactly what killed Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown’s only daughter, but are remaining mum on the findings in light of an order from a judge to have the findings sealed.
The site goes on to mention that the silence on the cause of Bobbi Kristina’s dath also stems from the continuing criminal investigation into the case as police hunt for evidence to help them nab a homicide prosecution. Hot on their list of folks to look into is Brown’s boyfriend Nick Gordon, who has been on the authorities’ radar since the start of the investigation.
Despite the secrecy, the medical examiner revealed that the Fulton County D.A. and the Roswell P.D are aware of the cause of Bobbi Kristina’s death.
Kim Zolciak revealed on Thursday she had suffered a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) hours after a flight from Los Angeles to Atlanta, and shared an Instagram pic of herself lying in a hospital bed.
The 37-year-old star of Bravo’s “Don’t Be Tardy” and current “Dancing With the Stars” contestant said Friday she’s not out of the woods yet.
“Going in for one more procedure, things are looking up!” she wrote on Instagram. “Don’t let the oxygen scare you its just protocol.”
“I wanted THANK all of you for the love!” she added. ” I feel so overwhelmed with all the texts, comments etc. I’m so grateful to have all of you! #TheyDontCallMeToughieForNothing.”
A TIA, or mini stroke, lasts several minutes and occurs after the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted briefly. One third of victims are likely to suffer a stroke in the future, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Zolciak had said that when he had a TIA, she felt numb on one side of her body and lost the ability to speak. Other symptoms of a mini stroke include numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, trouble seeing in one or both eyes and difficulty with walking, dizziness, or loss of balance and coordination.
It’s still unclear if Zolciak will continue to compete on “Dancing With the Stars.” Neither she nor ABC has commented.
Her dance partner, Tony Dovolani, issued a statement on Friday.
“After spending only a few weeks with Kim, it is evident of how much of a fighter she is,” he said. “Her humor and positivity are still shining through, and it’s amazing to see the love and support of her family. We are hoping for a speedy recovery.”
Zolciak had on Thursday posted a photo of the pro dancer on Instagram.
“This guy @tonydovolani has been by my side for 2 days!” Zolciak wrote. “He even brings me my favorite coffee. Although he is always dancing around the room lol he keeps me smiling! So blessed to be surrounded by such great people. Want to go home so bad! Hopefully tomorrow! #GoingStirCrazy #BlessingInDisguse.”
Her husband, Atlanta Falcons defensive end Kroy Biermann, 30, was shown comforting Zolciak by her hospital bedside in another Instagram photo she posted on Thursday.
It is unclear if he will play in his team’s game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
Nearly a month after Joe Jackson returned to L.A. from Brazil after suffering a series a heart attacks followed by a massive stroke, the Jackson family patriarch is said to be in stable condition, but a source very close to the family tells RadarOnline.com that the medical crisis has taken a toll.
“Joe refuses to stop working, but it is really sad because he is trying to still act as the family liaison and manager to everyone but is not making any sense a lot of the time,” says the source.
“Sometimes when he speaks, people have a hard time understanding what he is saying and then he gets all angry because no one is listening to him.”
“This last stroke really took a toll on him,” the source continues. “Joe used to be so sharp and didn’t miss a beat, but since the stroke he has faded. It has gotten to the point where Paris and Prince cannot even be around him because they get so upset that he doesn’t even seem to know who they are at times.”
According to the insider, “No one knows what to do, so they just patronize him and say ‘yes dad’ to pretty much everything he says.”
“Even Katherine is at the end of her rope with him, but she won’t leave his side and has really become his caretaker since he returned home.”