(CN) – The Columbia, S.C., sheriff’s deputy caught on video as he threw a high school student to the ground and then dragged her across the floor and out of a classroom has been fired.
Richand County Sheriff Leon Lott announced the firing of Deputy Ben Fields at noon, saying the deputy was told of the department’s decision just minutes earlier.
But even as he announced the firing of Fields, Lott said, “We must not lose sight that the whole incident was started by this student.”
Also on Wednesday, the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice are investigating an altercation between Fields and the student.
The civil rights investigation into the incident, which occurred Monday afternoon, comes in the wake of the release of several videos shot, and later posted online, by the teenager’s fellow students.
The videos show a sheriff’s deputy entering the class room, talking to the teenager, then grabbing the student by the neck, flipping her backward, and dragging her across the floor.
In the immediate aftermath of the incident, as the videos went viral, Sheriff Lott confirmed that one of his deputies had responded to a call about a disruptive student who was refusing to leave a classroom after effectively bringing the day’s lecture to an end.
Lott later reached out to the FBI’s local office in Columbia, and William Nettles, the U.S. attorney for South Carolina, asking them to investigate.
Nettles said the FBI will gather all available evidence in an effort to determine whether any federal laws were violated during the incident. His office declined further comment until the investigation is completed.
The State newspaper in Columbia reported that the girl, who has not been identified publicly, and a male student were arrested after the incident on charges of disturbing the peace. Both were later released to the custody of their parents.
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