Richland County, South Carolina has become the center of more controversy, which caused dozens of black parents and activists to petition a prosecutor in the city of Columbia.
Late last week, almost a dozen protesters gathered outside the courthouse building of the District Attorney’s office to express their outrage at the actions of Dan Johnson, a Richland County prosecutor.
Johnson has not yet dropped the charges against a 16-year-old black female student at Spring Valley High School in Columbia. The female student was charged with “disturbing schools” after an October 26th incident where she was brutally assaulted in her classroom by Ben Fields, a former deputy, and school resource officer. Fields is white.
The incident was recorded via cell phone video by another black female student (aged 18), who was also charged that day. However, Fields (who was fired by the county) has not been charged by the District Attorney’s office with any crime.
Local news sources have also reported that a 150,000-signature petition to charge Fields has been handed over to the County Solicitor’s office. Protestors are furious over the fact that the two young women are the only ones facing any legal scrutiny following the former officer’s overly aggressive actions at the time of the incident.
The main group advocating justice in this matter is called the Richland 2 Black Parents Association. According to the Associated Press, the advocacy group has planned another peaceful demonstration to protest against the Richland County District Attorney’s office later this week.
The Associated Press also reported that the FBI is currently investigating this incident and a personal probe of Fields is being conducted.
Attorney Johnson has issued a statement saying that he cannot legally make any decision to press on with or drop charges against the black female students until the FBI closes its investigation of Fields.
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