Home / Top Story / Army vet recalls rough encounter with SC Dep. Ben Fields

Army vet recalls rough encounter with SC Dep. Ben Fields

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Updated: Monday, October 26, 2015, 11:13 PM

Richland South Carolina Sheriff's Deputy Ben Fields is seen in these images arresting Carlos Martin in 2005, who at the time was in the Army stationed at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina.Courtesy of Carlos Martin

Richland South Carolina Sheriff’s Deputy Ben Fields is seen in these images arresting Carlos Martin in 2005, who at the time was in the Army stationed at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina.

The 15-second video of sheriff’s deputy Ben Fields slamming a student to the ground sent shivers down Carlos Martin’s spine.

After all, he’d been manhandled by the beefy South Carolina cop the same way almost exactly 10 years before.

“I recognized him on the spot. I remembered how big he was,” the 36-year-old Army veteran told the Daily News.

Martin had faced off with Fields twice before: once in a Columbia, S.C., parking lot during an arrest and later in the courtroom, where Martin and his wife, Tashiana, filed suit against the hulking officer for civil rights violations.

SEE IT:SPRING VALLEY SCHOOL OFFICER CAUGHT ON VIDEO SLAMMING SOUTH CAROLINA STUDENT TO GROUND DURING ARREST

During the arrest, sheriff's deputy Ben Fields emptied an entire can of pepper spray on him, Martin said.Courtesy of Carlos Martin

During the arrest, sheriff’s deputy Ben Fields emptied an entire can of pepper spray on him, Martin said.

That suit fizzled out during a drawn-out legal process, but Martin still bears the emotional scars from the 2005 confrontation with Fields, who then was a rookie officer with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.

Fields on Monday made national news after video of him throwing a female Spring Valley High School student to the ground during an arrest went viral online. And it brought bad memories cascading back for Martin.

Now an actor, Martin had only recently moved to Columbia, South Carolina’s capital city, after an overseas stint with the Army in Germany.

He was working at the Moncrief Army Community Hospital at Fort Jackson and ran into Fields when he returned home from a day of work.

Fields was at the apartment complex parking lot, responding to a call for a noise complaint. Martin was playing the music loudly in his car when he pulled in.

S.C. DEPUTY BEN FIELDS HAS HISTORY OF ALLEGED MISCONDUCT AND RACIAL BIAS

Martin was in the military for 10 years as a medic, and was honorably discharged after his arrest in 2005.Courtesy of Carlos Martin

Martin was in the military for 10 years as a medic, and was honorably discharged after his arrest in 2005.

An argument ensued in the broad daylight on Oct. 24, 2005.

Martin said the beefy officer “snapped” after he called him “dude,” and slammed him on the ground. He began pepper-spraying the helpless veteran, but Martin said he was trained in the military to resist the chemicals. An entire canister of the stuff failed to disable Martin.

“He became even more violent because I didn’t react like most people would,” Martin told the News.

His wife at the time, Tashiana Rogers, witnessed the fracas, and ran outside to take photos of the violent encounter with her cellphone.

That’s when Fields called for his partner to “get her black ass,” Martin said. The officer grabbed her phone and deleted the photos.

Fields then called for back-up.

“I’m watching my wife get beat up in front of me, and there’s nothing I can do about it,” Martin said.

The former medic, who spent 10 years in the service, said his encounter with the hulking officer lead to his divorce and discharge from the military.

Fields said he didn’t care that Martin, still in uniform, was a soldier, the former medic said.

During the arrest, Martin told Fields the rough arrest would lead to a lawsuit.

“I’m glad Johnny Cochran is dead,” Fields shot back, according to Martin.

The officer also told Martin as he was cuffed that “you’re just another notch in my belt,” according to court documents.

The criminal charges against both Martin and his wife were dropped, but it took four years to get to trial. During that time, the military considered Martin a criminal and blackballed him, he said.

At the same time, his marriage was falling apart because of the attack. His wife divorced him because she felt he couldn’t protect her from the violent cop, he said.

He had been in the military for nearly a decade and married for three years.

The lawsuit was later dismissed because there had been issues with proving excessive force, his criminal trial lawyer, John Mobley told the Daily News. His ex-wife’s lawsuit went to court, and the jury ruled in favor of the sheriff’s department, he said.

“That was shocking. I was definitely shocked that the jury did not find in her favor,” Mobley said.

Rogers was shocked too. She worries Fields was allowed to operate with impunity giving him freedom to terrorize high school students.

“I felt like if he had felt the consequences from 2005, this wouldn’t happen today,” she told the Daily News.

ang@nydailynews.com


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