Officer Ben Fields attacking the young girl
The National Action Network commends Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott for taking decisive action in terminating School Resource Officer Ben Fields for the excessive force used on a Spring Valley High School student on Monday.
We believe Sheriff Lott’s actions were appropriate and warranted.
Once again, a South Carolina law enforcement leader responded to an act of outrage and injustice by an officer in their charge with prompt and just action. As with the termination and charging of Officer Michael Slager in the murder of Mr. Walter Scott in North Charleston, Sheriff Lott has set a national example on how to act thoughtfully but quickly to hold an officer of the law accountable for violating the rights of a citizen.
Reverend Nelson B. Rivers, III, NAN Vice President of Religious Affairs and External Relations and Elder James Johnson, NAN South Carolina State Director met with Sheriff Lott along with other NAN leaders at Lott’s office to express concerns about the actions of SRO Fields. The group encouraged Sheriff Lott to take quick action.
Reverend Rivers, who is also a pastor in North Charleston, S.C., said he has known Sheriff Lott for more than 20 years and was not surprised by his swift and evenhanded action.
Reverend Rivers noted that the Richland County Sheriff’s Department is the only law enforcement agency in the state with a citizen’s advisory committee.
As Rivers noted, NAN will push other jurisdictions to create this tool to increase transparency and foster positive relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
And as Elder Johnson said, the termination of Officer Fields will help bring healing to the students who witnessed the beating of their fellow student and sends a message that law enforcement officers will be held accountable for their actions even in schools.
Rev. Sharpton the founder, president and CEO of NAN