Prosecutors will not pursue charges against a former South Carolina deputy and Spring Valley High School students, nearly a year since a shocking video showed the deputy drag a female student across a classroom floor, WZZM-TV reports.
Solicitor Dan Johnson reviewed FBI and State Law Enforcement Division investigations, and concluded in a 12-page report released on Friday that there’s not enough evidence to prosecute Ben Fields, the sheriff’s deputy in the video.
Last October, Fields responded to a call about a high school girl who refused to surrender her mobile phone or leave her classroom. The video, posted online, showed the White officer manhandling the Black girl when she ignored his orders. He flips the student and her desk backward onto the floor, and drags her to the front of the classroom, where he handcuffs the teenager.
The video stirred anger in the Black community and ignited a nationwide conversation about racial disparities in school discipline enforcement, the school-to-prison pipeline, and the use of law enforcement officers to discipline students who have not committed a crime. In the aftermath, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott fired Fields.
The student and a female witness, Niya Kenny, who recorded the confrontation, were both charged with disturbing the schools. But Johnson also dropped charges against Kenny.
Field’s attorney, Scott Hayes, told The State that he agrees with the solicitor’s results, adding that his client was straightforward with investigators. However, he noted that Fields still faces a federal investigation.