A former South Carolina school police officer caught on video brutalizing a black teenager won’t face federal charges, the Justice Department said Friday.
Federal investigators said they couldn’t prove Ben Fields, who was fired from his job at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, South Carolina, after the October 2015 clash, intended to violate the student’s constitutional rights.
“After a careful and thorough investigation, the team of experienced federal prosecutors and FBI agents determined that the evidence was insufficient to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Fields willfully deprived the Spring Valley High School student of a constitutional right,” the Justice Department said in a statement.
The decision appears to leave Fields off the hook for the classroom confrontation. State prosecutors decided against charging him in September.
Video captured Fields, who is white, tossing a 16-year-old black female student named Shakara from her desk and dragging her across the floor.
Fields, who also was a sheriff’s deputy in Richland County, South Carolina, was fired in October 2015 following a 48-hour investigation.
The student who was involved was charged with disturbing schools, a misdemeanor, as was Niya Kenny, who recorded the video. State prosecutors later dropped the charges against both students.