Sheriff on Spring Valley video: I wanted to throw up
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) - Sheriff Leon Lott reiterated Tuesday that the video of school resource officer forcibly removing a student from their desk at Spring Valley High School was disturbing.
"I wanted to throw up," said the sheriff at a news conference Tuesday.
Lott revealed details leading up to what was shown on the video that has gone viral.
The sheriff stated students in the class were doing work on a Chromebook, when the teacher said the student in question was using her cell phone. The teacher asked the student to stop, but she refused and became disrespectful.
The teacher then called for an administrator to come to the classroom and when she refused to leave the room at the request of the administrator, he then called for deputy Fields to come to the room.
Fields then asked the student to leave and when she refused again is where the video comes into play.
The girl in the video and a second teen were ultimately charged with disturbing schools.
"The videotape helps in the investigation, but it is not the total picture," added Lott.
Sheriff Lott noted the teacher, a student and the administrator gave statements in support of Fields.
The sheriff said there are three separate videos of this incident and that one shows the girl punching the deputy, but says he is not looking at her actions, rather that of his deputy.
"I'm not looking at what the student did, but how my deputy reacted," said Lott.
Lott stated an internal investigation is underway and expects its findings to be delivered to him within 24 hours.
Lott doesn't believe that race is a factor and pointed out Fields has received awards at the school before and worked as an assistant football coach at Spring Valley.
"I would hope race played no part in this whatsoever, I hope our deputies our colorblind when it comes to doing their job," said Lott.
The sheriff revealed that his department supplies 87 school resource offices in three districts and they not only work to make schools safe, but the build relationships with students and teach them lessons outside of the classroom.
Fields is currently on unpaid leave and the FBI, SLED and the US Attorney's Office is investigating the matter criminally.