SC State Superintendent says changes needed after video shows officer toss student

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – South Carolina State Superintendent, Molly Spearman, says she plans to start making changes immediately in regards to the incident caught on cell phone video where a police officer can be seen throwing a student.

“I was very disturbed by what I saw,” said Spearman.

Spearman was a teacher for nearly 20 years. She says she will not wait for the legislature to start making changes.

“We know we need to go in and review best practices for our discipline policy. We need to review the training for our resources officers,” said Spearman. “I’ve learned today that our training may not be up to national standards,” she added.

Spearman says another thing to investigate is the disproportionate number of African American students who are being expelled.

However, Richland County Sheriff, Leon Lott says the incident involving his officer is not racially driven.

“I would hope that all our deputies are color bind when it comes to doing their job and enforcing the law. That’s very important to me and very important to this department,” said Sheriff Lott.

Video recently released from a different angle of the classroom shows the student swinging at the officer.

“She bears some responsibility. If she did not disrupt that school and disrupt that class, we would not be standing here today,” said Sheriff Lott.

But Lott says his investigation is looking into his officer and not the student.

State superintendent Spearman says both students and law enforcement need to have respect for each other. But she says the actions of Deputy Ben Fields, the officer in the video, were over the top.

“I think he injured the trust that the students have in law enforcement,” said Spearman.

Sheriff Lott says he will likely announce whether the officer will be fired Wednesday. The U.S. Justice Department opened a civil rights investigation on the incident.

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