South Carolina

School officer accused of knocking SC girl unconscious also fondled a parent, suit says

Watch: Teen loses consciousness as officer handcuffs her at SC high school

Video taken May 3 at a high school in Spartanburg County, S.C., shows a sheriff’s deputy push a 15-year-old girl onto the ground and put his knees on her back as he handcuffs her. Her body goes limp shortly after she tells him, "I can't breathe."
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Video taken May 3 at a high school in Spartanburg County, S.C., shows a sheriff’s deputy push a 15-year-old girl onto the ground and put his knees on her back as he handcuffs her. Her body goes limp shortly after she tells him, "I can't breathe."

A woman says in a lawsuit that a Spartanburg County deputy fondled her breasts during a search after he forced her to leave her son’s baseball game and arrested her for disorderly conduct.

The deputy is the same school resource officer who was sued May 20 for allegedly knocking a 15-year-old girl unconscious at Broome High School, according to The Spartanburg Herald Journal.

The new lawsuit, filed May 31 , says Deputy Stephen Law “has a pattern and practice of physical abusive conduct towards females.”

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Sonya Ricketts was at her son’s baseball game in July 2017 when Law told her she had to leave, according to the lawsuit. The reason is not clear in the suit why he made her leave.

Ricketts said she went outside the fence to wait for her husband and children when the deputy again told her to leave. But she said her husband had the car keys and she had to wait, according to the lawsuit.

The officer arrested Ricketts for disorderly conduct and slammed her head into a truck, the lawsuit states.

“Defendant Law who is a male conducted a feel and touch search on the plaintiff and even fondled her breasts,” according to the court filing.

The lawsuit states a female deputy pulled up to Ricketts and told her “that Deputy Law’s actions were ‘bull****.’”

It also accuses Law and the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office of false arrest, assault and negligence. The charges against Ricketts were dropped, according to the lawsuit.

Student ‘knocked unconscious’

In the May 3 incident at the high school, a video shows the officer push the girl to the ground and put his knees in her back as she shouts, “I cant’ breath.”

She fell unconscious, going limp on the ground as the officer was on her back, McClatchy reported.

Law, then serving as a school resource officer at Broome High, did not have probable cause to assault the girl, according to the lawsuit filed on her behalf. The suit also names the school district, the sheriff’s office and the school principal.

Law picked her up “and slammed her to the hard surface ground and then put his weight on her body in such a violent fashion” she was knocked unconscious, the lawsuit says.

“There was an incident at Broome High School that is currently under investigation by the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office,” the school district said in a statement that was reported by WSPA. ”Because the student who was involved is a juvenile, we’re unable to go into too many details about the situation.”

Defendants named in the two lawsuits have not filed responses with the court.

The same attorney, Fletcher Smith, is representing Ricketts and the family of the girl.

Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.
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