South Carolina authorities will announce Wednesday that Richland County Senior Deputy Ben Fields, the police officer who forcefully arrested a high school student in her classroom, will be relieved of duty, sources told NBC News, which added that Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott is set to hold a news conference at noon to talk about the Monday incident at Spring Valley High School in Columbia.
The incident began when the girl was texting on her phone and refused to leave the class when a teacher asked her to do so, Lott said in the NBC report. Fields was then ordered to the classroom where the now-infamous forceful arrest took place, NBC stated, adding that the girl was arrested along with a second student, identified as 18-year-old Niya Kenny, whom police say was also "contributing to the chaos."
Kenny said to NBC that she "felt something bad was going to go down" when Fields entered the classroom. "He's known as Officer Slam," she was quoted.
Video of the arrest incited accusations of racist policing since Fields is white, and the student, who hasn't been named, is black, according to a related New York Daily News article, which also stated that Fields' boss tried to defend Fields by telling reporters the officer is dating a black woman.
FBI and the Justice Department probes will determine whether the girl's civil rights were violated in the incident, NBC reported, and the president of the South Carolina chapter of the NAACP has called for Fields to be charged with assault.