A former South Carolina sheriff’s deputy will not face charges for tossing a student across a classroom, the Associated Press reports. Prosecutor Dan Johnson announced the result Friday in a case that focused attention on the consequences of bringing law enforcers into classroom confrontations. Johnson found no probable cause to charge the former deputy, Ben Fields. He was recorded last October by students at Spring Valley High School flipping a female student to the floor and dragging her across a classroom after she refused to surrender her cellphone.
Fields was fired by the Richland County Sheriff’s Department. Videos of the confrontation between the white officer and black student stirred such outrage that Sheriff Leon Lott, who said what Fields had done made him want to “throw up,” called the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department for help. The videos showed Fields telling the girl to leave her seat or he would forcibly remove her. The officer then wrapped his forearm around her neck, flipped her and the desk backward onto the floor, tossed her toward the front of the room and handcuffed her. Johnson reported one witness saying, “the incident looked worse in the video than it did in the classroom.” Another said that Fields did not intentionally throw the student across the room.