Acquitted Sumter officer: "Only God's grace kept me for that two - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Acquitted Sumter officer: "Only God's grace kept me for that two years."

SUMTER COUNTY, SC (WIS) -

Monday afternoon, a Sumter County jury took only one hour to find former Sumter Police officer Alex Williams not guilty. That verdict came two years to the day then-Chief Patty Patterson fired him.

Williams called the jury's verdict "pure relief."

"Two years," said Williams. "You can't imagine how life-altering those two years were."

Since Williams lost his job with Sumter Police, he says he's had trouble finding work with a criminal charge hanging over him.

Sumter Police Deputy Chief Alvin Holston accused Williams of not turning in more than $1,200 someone reported finding at a car wash. Williams accused Holston of assaulting him when Holston took his gun and badge.

Weeks later, SLED charged Williams with breach of trust.

Then Monday, a Sumter County jury decided Williams was telling the truth when he said he returned the money to its owner.

"I call it the favor of God and the irony of God and it's just God's grace working," said Williams "It shows he had me in the valley for two years, but he never left me. He never walked away from me."

Williams says prosecutors offered him a deal: take a plea to the charge and walk away with a fine. Williams says he wanted a jury to prove his innocence.

"When I'm right and I know I'm right and I can stand on my right, then that's what I do," said Williams. "That's who I am and that's who I always will be. That's how I was raised and nobody can change that."

Those who worked with Williams called him a good, honest cop, but Williams says despite the acquittal, he'll always have a mark on his law enforcement career.

"As hard a sit may have been, it made me stronger. It made me stronger and anything I encounter now it's I made it thorough that, I can make it through this," said Williams. "I didn't die, I didn't give up."

"Two years I survived. Only God's grace. Only God's grace kept me for that two years because other than that, I don't know, you'll probably be doing a different story about me if it wasn't for his grace."

Former Sumter Police Chief Patty Patterson did not respond to our request for an interview for this story. Deputy Chief Alvin Holston's boss, Chief Russell Roark denied our request to interview Holston.

As for Alex Williams' law enforcement career, that's on hold as he's currently working for a roofing company.

Copyright 2013 WIS. All rights reserved.

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