Niya Kenny, the former Spring Valley High School student who was arrested in a 2015 videoed classroom incident that went viral on the Internet, said she has no regrets.
“I definitely do stand by what I did,” said Kenny at a Wednesday press conference in Forest Acres. Now 19, Kenny on Tuesday sued the Richland County Sheriff’s Department and Richland School District 2 for false arrest and negligence.
On the day in October 2015, no one else in her Spring Valley class was doing anything, so, Kenny said, she felt she had to protest as a deputy tossed a fellow student from her chair and across the room. In the meantime, she and other students shot videos that went viral and made national headlines.
After she herself was arrested and put in jail, the school district denied her the right to graduate. Charges against Kenny and the other student, a minor at the time, were eventually dropped. The deputy involved in the case was fired.
Bakari Sellers, Kenny’s attorney who held the press conference with co-counsel Simone Martin, said he wasn’t attempting to try the case in the news media.
“The reason we are here now is to give Niya a voice,” Sellers said. “We don’t go out of our way to abuse law enforcement, who do great work every day, but what we do say is this is simply about justice for this young lady.”
Also at the press conference was Kenny’s mother, Doris Ballard, who told reporters, “She did what I expected her to do. I’m very proud of her.”
Sellers indicated he hopes to settle the case without going to trial but added he and Martin are ready to put the case before a jury.
Per their policies, the sheriff’s department and the school district have declined comment on Kenny’s lawsuit.