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Author Archives: J. Brooks Davis

Suit alleges Dorchester deputy assaulted teen

BY JOCELYN GRZESZCZAK, THE POST AND COURIER A lawsuit filed against the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office accused one of its deputies of unlawfully assaulting and arresting a 19-year-old man in April. Charleston attorney Jerry Meehan filed suit Sept. 8 on behalf of his client, Jamel Floyd. The eight-page document named Dorchester Sheriff L.C. Knight and Deputy… Read More »

Can a police officer legally order me to exit my vehicle?

This is a question that is often asked, especially with the popularity of the “First Amendment auditors”. The answer is yes. The Supreme Court of the United States held in Maryland v. Wilson, 519 U.S. 408 (1997) that a law enforcement officer may order all occupants of a vehicle to exit the vehicle pending completion… Read More »

Experts: History of excessive force at jail

BY STEVE GARRISON, THE POST AND COURIER NORTH CHARLESTON — The Charleston County jail’s Special Operations Group used unnecessary force on inmates for years before Jamal Sutherland’s death in January, according to an analysis conducted for The Post and Courier. Members of the jail’s tactical team used Tasers and pepper spray to subdue inmates, including those… Read More »

New ethics rules adopted for SC prosecutors

By Steve Garrison, The Post and Courier Defendants wrongfully convicted of a crime in South Carolina have an unexpected new ally: prosecutors. Under changes made last week to the S.C. Rules of Professional Conduct, prosecutors are required to disclose evidence of innocence discovered after a defendant is convicted of a crime. South Carolina joins about two… Read More »

Attorneys, activists allege excessive force by North Charleston police

By Steve Garrison, The Post and Courier A 42-year-old man is suing the city on allegations a police officer used excessive force by tackling him during a traffic stop last month, causing severe injuries. Brian Mickelsen, an attorney for Darian Meggett, said in an Aug. 3 news conference that a North Charleston police officer stopped his… Read More »

The civil side of excessive force

By J. Brooks Davis, Attorney Recently the Solicitor for the Ninth Circuit, Scarlett Wilson, determined there wasn’t enough cause to criminally charge the correctional officers responsible for Jamal Sutherland’s death at the Charleston County Detention Center. An investigation found that while “clear negligence” by the correctional officers was a factor in Sutherland’s death, there was… Read More »

Deputies not charged in jail death of mentally ill man

BY STEVE GARRISON, RICKEY DENNIS, ADAM PARKER and THOMAS NOVELLY, The Post and Courier Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson has determined her office would not charge two Charleston County jail deputies involved in the death earlier this year of Jamal Sutherland. Sutherland, a 31-year-old mentally ill Black man, died as Charleston County detention deputies Brian Houle… Read More »

DUI case points to another problem with South Carolina law

Editorial from The Post and Courier, July 26, 2021 The most obvious thing to say about Charleston City Councilman Harry Griffin’s driving under the influence charge that was dropped last week is that he wasn’t exonerated. Whether he was a lucky DUI lottery winner or was unfairly stripped of the right to prove his innocence is something we’ll… Read More »

U.S. Army lieutenant files suit against two Virginia police for assault during traffic stop

By Rich McKay, Reuter A U.S. Army lieutenant filed a lawsuit against two Virginia police officers in federal court over what court papers say was a violent traffic stop, where officers pointed their guns, knocked him to the ground, pepper sprayed him and “threatened to murder him.” The suit, filed by Army officer Caron Nazario on… Read More »

Officer who shot man used force 8 more times

BY JOSEPH CRANNEY, THE POST AND COURIER The Columbia police officer who shot a man during a controversial 2019 traffic stop went on to strike, stun and forcibly subdue suspects at a rate that is largely out of step with the rest of the department, records show. In the wake of the shooting, officer Sean Rollins… Read More »