Lott responds to US DOJ action in SC student's suit against 'dis - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Lott responds to US DOJ action in SC student's suit against 'disturbing schools' law

The violent incident, captured here on video, went viral. (Source: Facebook) The violent incident, captured here on video, went viral. (Source: Facebook)
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

The sheriff of the Richland County Sheriff's Department, Leon Lott, released a statement on Wednesday in regards to the "statement of interest" filed by the U.S. Department of Justice in a case before the federal court system. The case is related to a violent incident between a former Spring Valley High School resource officer and a student that was recorded and posted to social media.

Sheriff Lott's statement reads: 

"I hope that our General Assembly will realize through the DOJ's actions that the disturbing school law should be a priority in next year's session. I continue to stress that the intention of the law when passed, was to protect our schools. Unfortunately, the ambiguity of the law has resulted in abuse and misuse that has resulted in criminal charges of students that are actually discipline and classroom management issues. At Richland County, we have initiated internally procedures that address this issue. However, this is a Statewide issue that our Legislators need to address."  

In the case of Niya Kenny vs. South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, the Justice Department says they have an interest in the case because the "issues in this case -- alleged violations of the Due Process Clause in the administration of juvenile justice -- fall squarely within the ambit of the United States’ enforcement authority."

Kenny and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal suit on Aug. 11 against the state of South Carolina over two state laws regarding the enforcement of disorderly conduct and disturbing schools.

The suit alleges both laws are intentionally vague and unfairly target minorities.

"Students are being channeled into the criminal justice system for regular adolescent behavior that schools have dealt with for generations. This shift toward criminalization is hurting young people, particularly students of color," ACLU attorney Sarah Hinger said in August.

Kenny was charged with disturbing schools in the incident involving former Richland County Sheriff's Department Deputy Ben Fields and a sophomore Spring Valley. 

Video of the incident was recorded by several students present in class that day. The video shows Fields dragging the student from her desk and slamming her on the ground. 

WEB EXTRA: Watch the three angles of the incident: Angle 1 | Angle 2 | Angle 3

Kenny, according to her attorney, was charged in the case because she urged fellow students to try and stop the incident. 

Fields was fired by the Richland County Sheriff's Department for the incident.

The charges against Fields, Kenny, and the other student were eventually dropped.

Copyright 2016 WIS. All rights reserved

  • South Carolina news on WIStv.comNEWSMore>>

  • N. Korean missile test fails hours after UN meeting on nukes

    N. Korean missile test fails hours after UN meeting on nukes

    Saturday, April 29 2017 3:22 AM EDT2017-04-29 07:22:08 GMT
    Saturday, April 29 2017 3:22 AM EDT2017-04-29 07:22:08 GMT

    A North Korean mid-range ballistic missile test-fire apparently failed Saturday, South Korea and the United States said, the third such flop just this month but a clear message of defiance as a U.S. supercarrier conducts tests in nearby waters.

    More >>

    A North Korean mid-range ballistic missile test-fire apparently failed Saturday, South Korea and the United States said, the third such flop just this month but a clear message of defiance as a U.S. supercarrier conducts tests in nearby waters.

    More >>
  • Congress settles for stopgap to avoid government shutdown

    Congress settles for stopgap to avoid government shutdown

    Saturday, April 29 2017 3:19 AM EDT2017-04-29 07:19:59 GMT
    Saturday, April 29 2017 3:19 AM EDT2017-04-29 07:19:59 GMT

    President Donald Trump seems destined to serve his 100th day in office without House passage of a Republican health care bill or enactment of a budget financing the government for the rest of this year.

    More >>

    President Donald Trump seems destined to serve his 100th day in office without House passage of a Republican health care bill or enactment of a budget financing the government for the rest of this year.

    More >>
  • N. Korean missile test fails hours after UN meeting on nukes

    N. Korean missile test fails hours after UN meeting on nukes

    Saturday, April 29 2017 2:49 AM EDT2017-04-29 06:49:57 GMT
    Saturday, April 29 2017 2:53 AM EDT2017-04-29 06:53:34 GMT

    China's foreign ministry has refused to confirm or deny U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's assertion that Beijing has threatened to impose unilateral sanctions on North Korea if it conducts further nuclear tests.

    More >>

    China's foreign ministry has refused to confirm or deny U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's assertion that Beijing has threatened to impose unilateral sanctions on North Korea if it conducts further nuclear tests.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly