SC Cop in Classroom Incident Sued in 2005
The 15-second video of South Carolina sheriff’s deputy Ben Fields slamming a Black female high school student to the ground jogged the memory of an army vet who once had an encounter with him.
Carlos Martin says he too was manhandled by the aggressive cop the same way almost 10 years ago.
“I recognized him on the spot. I remembered how big he was,” Martin, 36, told the New York Daily News.
Martin says he encountered Fields twice: once in a Columbia, S.C., parking lot during an arrest and later in the courtroom, where Martin and his then wife, Tashiana, filed suit against him for civil rights violations.
On Monday, Fields was back in the spotlight after video of him throwing a female student to the ground during an arrest went viral. The girl attends Spring Valley High School.
Martin says he had just moved to Columbia after a stint with the Army in Germany when he encountered Fields. He was working at Moncrief Army Community Hospital at Fort Jackson and ran into Fields when he returned home from a day of work.
Fields was at the complex responding to a call for a noise complaint. Martin was playing music loudly in his car when he pulled into the lot where Fields was.
An argument ensued in broad daylight on Oct. 24, 2005. Martin said Fields “snapped” after he called him “dude,” and slammed him on the ground. He began pepper-spraying Martin, who says he was trained in the military to resist the chemicals.
“He became even more violent because I didn’t react like most people would,” Martin said.
Martin’s wife at the time, Tashiana Rogers, witnessed the violent incident. She took photos with her cell phone.
That’s when Fields called for his partner to “get her Black ass,” according to Martin. The officer grabbed her phone and deleted the photos.
Martin said that during the arrest, he told Fields the rough encounter would lead to a lawsuit.
“I’m glad Johnny Cochran is dead,” Fields shot back, according to Martin.
Read the full story at the New York Daily News.