SLED: No record of high-profile police misconduct investigation
Mon, 25 Jul 2011 19:19:02 GMT —
COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Nearly a year after the State Law Enforcement Division announced an investigation into the City of Columbia Police Department over allegations of officer misconduct, SLED and the FBI both tell WACH Fox News there is no record that an investigation ever took place.
The development is the latest in a string of apparent contradictions surrounding the controversial arrest of attorney Jonathan McCoy outside a Five Points bar in October 2009. McCoy sued the city after claiming three Columbia police officers falsely arrested him and then lied to cover it up.
Last August, former SLED Director Reggie Lloyd first mentioned the existence of what he called an "active investigation" into McCoy's case when he cited the investigation as reason for declining to discuss the matter with WACH Fox News.
"That case ended up being part of a larger view as to a number of citizen complaints in that area against the Columbia Police Department," said Lloyd in August.Related Stories... Scott to review controversial Five Points arrest investigation Charges dropped in controversial Five Points case Columbia reacts to alleged police cover-up
Lloyd stepped down as director last month. SLED spokeswoman Kathryn Richardson now says the agency has no record of any investigation pertaining to McCoy's arrest.
"We can't find anything pertaining to that name," said Richardson.
The Columbia FBI office confirmed Monday it also has no record of any investigation pertaining to McCoy.
McCoy was charged with "interfering with police" in 2009 after officers said he interrupted them during the arrest of another man on Harden Street. The police incident report accused McCoy of grabbing an officer and getting in their faces. WACH FOX News subsequently obtained surveillance video of the two-minute incident that contradicted the written account submitted by police.
In the video, McCoy can be seen approaching the officers but does not grab them. Two officers are seen shoving McCoy, after which he backs away from the officers. According to the lawsuit, McCoy claims that, as an attorney, he was trying to advise a friend to remain silent as well as to ask the officer why he was being arrested.
In response to his arrest, McCoy filed a federal lawsuit against the city and officers John Passmore, James Heywood and Amanda Long for allegedly violating his Constitutional rights.
The city subsequently dropped criminal charges against McCoy in May 2010 after the three officers refused to testify, according to McCoy's attorney Robert Goings. A Columbia police spokesman said charges were dropped because Heywood was deployed to Iraq and was unavailable to testify.
Prior to dropping the case, city officials issued contradictory statements pertaining to McCoy's arrest.
In February 2010, Columbia assistant city manager Mike King issued a press release announcing the city was launching an internal affairs investigation into the police department. Two months later, city attorney Constance Holloway admitted in court before Judge James Bogan that no internal affairs investigation took place.
"The City of Columbia did not do an internal affairs investigation," said Holloway.
In January, new Columbia police chief Randy Scott declined to comment on the McCoy case but he said he would review SLED's findings once the investigation was complete.
"I think the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the State Law Enforcement Division is doing everything in their power to investigate it in a timely, but, correct manner," said Scott in January. "So those officers are there and depending on the findings you just have to trust your police department because we're there to serve."
On Tuesday, WACH Fox tried to contact a spokesperson for the Columbia Police Department to get an update on the situation from Chief Randy Scott. Our call was not immediately returned.
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