Charges dropped in lawyer's arrest, officers refuse to testify - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Charges dropped in lawyer's Five Points arrest, officers refuse to testify

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Jonathan McCoy (at left) questions the officers arresting Allen McAlister Jonathan McCoy (at left) questions the officers arresting Allen McAlister
McCoy in court McCoy in court

By Logan Smith - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Prosecutors have dropped charges against a Myrtle Beach lawyer arrested in Five Points last year after the arresting officers refused to testify, fearing they might incriminate themselves.

In an emergency court session Thursday in Columbia, city prosecutors nolle prossed Jonathan David McCoy's charge of resisting arrest, according to his attorney, Robert Goings. Prosecutors told the judge the three officers involved in McCoy's arrest refused to testify because they did not want to incriminate themselves and would simply plead the fifth.

Officers James Heywood, Amanda Long and John Passmore may have been motivated against testifying because SLED is investigating their conduct during their October 2009 encounter with McCoy and his friend outside Sharky's bar in Five Points.

The three officers responded to a disturbance on Harden Street on October 17 and arrested Allen McAlister, 25. The officers later claimed in their report that McAlister snatched his arms away, and they wrestled him to the ground.

However, the incident was caught on surveillance camera, and the video does not support several of the officers' claims in the report. [Click here to read the original police report about the incident]

The video then shows McCoy walking up to ask officers why they were arresting his friend. The officers claimed McCoy grabbed an officer by the arm and got in an officer's face, but McCoy says he was simply asking the officers about McAlister's arrest details, bond hearing and Miranda rights.

In the video, officers shoved McCoy several times before placing him under arrest. The officers reported in detail that McCoy resisted arrest, allegations the video also disputes.

McCoy's lawsuit claims he asked the officer why he himself was being arrested, and Officer Passmore replied, "for asking questions." The suit said Passmore went on to say it was a crime to ask questions about McAlister's arrest. [Read McCoy's lawsuit by clicking here]

Then-Columbia Police Chief Tandy Carter promised a full internal investigation of the incident immediately after the surveillance video surfaced, but prosecutors later revealed the investigation never took place and was handed off to SLED. Carter was later fired over his handling of the investigation into Mayor-elect Steve Benjamin's car wreck.

So far there's no word on the status of the SLED investigation of the three officers.

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