CPD officer suspended after use of force incident reinstated to desk duty

CPD officer suspended after use of force incident reinstated to desk duty
Tyrone Pugh (Source: Columbia Police Department)
Tyrone Pugh (Source: Columbia Police Department)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A Columbia Police officer who was suspended without pay following the public release of a video showing a him striking a person on the ground outside a Columbia entertainment venue in January has been reinstated to the force.

Investigator Tyrone Pugh is currently on administrative duty with no regular police functions, department spokeswoman Jennifer Timmons said on Monday.

Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook suspended Pugh after video of the January 18 incident outside Columbia Soundstage on Blanding Street was posted online.

According to an incident report, officers were responding to two fights early that morning. However, the incident report does not detail what reportedly happened between Pugh and the person seen being hit on the ground.

The video begins shortly after police arrived to investigate and gain control of the crowd. In the clip, two people can be seen being detained by officers. Moments later, an officer, who has been identified as Pugh, throws a person against a vehicle and onto the ground. Pugh can been seen kneeling on the person and hitting him numerous times.

Holbrook started an internal investigation and requested the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division conduct its own concurrent probe to determine if any criminal violations occurred during the incident. SLED spokesman Thom Berry says the investigation has not yet been completed.

Timmons said Pugh's account of what happened is included in SLED's investigation. WIS has requested information from SLED, but it won't be available until the investigation is complete.

A statement from CPD states that Pugh carries an "unblemished disciplinary record during his tenure at the CPD."

Pugh has been with the department since 2007 and most recently served with the Property Crimes Unit as an investigator. He is also a first sergeant in the United States Army and will celebrate 29 years of military service in June 2015.

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