Solicitor’s office declines to prosecute former KCSO deputy in viral video incident

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Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 5:29 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The KCSO deputy seen in a viral video striking an individual during an arrest on May 9th has been cleared by all investigative entities.

On May 9, 2022, a KCSO deputy was immediately suspended (with pay) and SLED was asked to investigate the incident after Sheriff Lee Boan viewed the video. The sheriff later made the decision to lift the suspension after reviewing the entire case (including body camera video) with the KCSO internal affairs unit, use of force board, and a citizen panel consisting of members of the KCSO Citizens Advisory Board, community leaders, and other faith based organization members within Kershaw County.

The video of KCSO deputies spread on Facebook in May, showing deputies attempting to arrest and restrain suspect Willie Crosby when one deputy hit the suspect in the face.

In the aftermath, Kershaw County Sheriff Lee Boan posted on Facebook writing the deputies were serving warrants on the suspect.

Additionally, he announced the deputy who struck the suspect in the face would be suspended and that he requested a SLED investigation.

Boan said in a statement to WIS Tuesday, “The small video clip posted to social media looked bad. But, it did not tell the entire story. The complete investigation revealed what actually happened.”

In a letter to Boan dated Aug. 15, Fifth Circuit Solicitor Byron Gipson wrote, his team studied state law and KCSO policy. He concluded in part:

Upon review, it is my legal opinion that there is insufficient evidence of criminal wrongdoing to sustain a successful prosecution

Additionally, he wrote his office considers the matter closed.

WIS could not confirm the name of the deputy when the video went viral in May and is now withholding the name because he is not facing criminal prosecution nor civil litigation.

In an interview with WIS, the deputy said he followed proper procedure and the punch to the suspects’ face was an accident.

“I knew I didn’t do anything wrong; I didn’t have any criminal intent or anything. I was just doing my job as a law enforcement officer to the best of my abilities,” he said.

He said he expected Boan to put him on administrative leave and felt his reputation had been tarnished with the announcement of the suspension.

“As a law enforcement officer your reputation is everything when it comes to court, when it comes to dealing with people you see every day in the community. When I was suspended, they posted it on the Facebook, the deputy in the video going viral has been suspended. I felt like that was detrimental to my reputation and character as a law enforcement officer. My family, my wife, the job she has, it was stressful,” he said.

The deputy resigned from KCSO in late June.

He said Boan did apologize to him about the suspension after KCSO Internal Affairs cleared him.

WIS asked the former deputy what he wants the public to take away from the episode.

“As a former investigator I would tell them they have to look at the whole picture before you judge the book. There’s a lot more going on in that little video,” he said.

WIS also spoke with Crosby’s girlfriend Harlie Bannister who filmed the incident. She said Crosby is recovering from the incident, and they are seeking an attorney for civil litigation.

The 5th Circuit Solicitor’s Office reviewed SLED’s completed investigation and made the decision on August 15, 2022 that there is “insufficient evidence of criminal wrongdoing to sustain a successful prosecution.

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