South Carolina authorities have announced that Richland County Senior Deputy Ben Fields, the officer who was caught on camera body-slamming a female student, has been relieved of his duty.
The move comes after Sheriff Leon Lott announced he was reviewing a third video, shot from a different angle, and as more students began speaking out about incident.
Fields was put on leave with no pay and banned from the school grounds following the incident. The FBI and Justice Department are conducting an independent investigation.
Lott claimed the new video shows the female student hitting Senior Deputy Ben Fields before he pulls her to the ground and drags her across the floor.
The first two videos of the incident, shot by other students in the class, have gone viral. The female student in the video, as well as a second student, Niya Kenny, was arrested for disturbing schools. Kenny told TODAY what she saw — and how she reacted to the incident. Kenny shot one of the two initial videos.
"I just told my class, ya'll get ya'll's cameras out,'' Kenny explained. "Because, like, we already know his reputation. He was known as 'Officer Slam.'"
Fields was called into the classroom when the student in the video refused a teacher's request to go to the disciplinary office. She then refuses multiple requests by Fields to leave the classroom. Some witnesses have said Fields did what he had to do to remove her, according to Lott.
"He's a really good officer, and sometimes he can be pretty mean, but he also can be a really nice officer,'' one student told Melvin.
The girl involved in the incident, who has not been identified, is hurting mentally and physically, according to her attorney.
"She has a cast on her arm,'' attorney Todd Rutherford said on TODAY Wednesday. "She had to go to the hospital last night and back to the doctor today. She has injuries to her back, injuries to her neck, injuries to her forehead and injuries to her arm."
The video has divided the community between those believing it was excessive force and those saying she was clearly resisting arrest, leading to a tense Board of Education meeting in the district on Tuesday night.
"I would say to those that this officer had no business being in the classroom,'' Rutherford said. "There are multiple things that he could have done. Nothing justifies what he did."
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