A South Carolina sheriff announced this morning that the police officer who was caught on camera earlier this week violently assaulting a Black female student has been fired. It has also been discovered that he has a history of using excessive force, particularly against Black individuals.
CNN reports that two years ago, former Spring Valley High School student Ashton James Reese filed a lawsuit against Fields, alleging that the officer unlawfully expelled him after accusing him of being involved with gang activity. The trial is still pending. In 2007, a Richland County couple says that Fields violated their civil rights after wrongfully accusing them of being the source of a noise violation and violently arresting them. The lawsuit was dismissed.
This week’s incident isn’t the first time that Fields, the school’s campus resource officer, who also serves as a football coach, has become violent with students. Tweets from teens at the school reveal that many students feared the officer’s imposing stature—they oftentimes described him as looking like a bodybuilder, and YouTube videos show that Fields is an avid weightlifter—and he reportedly slammed a pregnant student to the ground in 2012.
District officials, who have issued statements claiming that Fields is dating a Black woman, have asked both the state FBI and the Department of Justice to launch a civil rights investigation into the incident.