Columbia — The man who trains South Carolina police officers how to defend themselves from attacks by criminals made two things clear Friday during a federal trial.
A law enforcement officer must have thick skin and tolerate taunts from people he has arrested.
There is never a good reason to use a police baton against a suspect who is already in handcuffs.
Those beliefs were explained during the second day of a federal civil rights trial against Oddie Tribble, a former Kershaw County Sheriff's deputy who was captured on video as he beat a handcuffed detainee with a metal baton.
Bruce Hancock, an instructor at the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy, testified Friday as an expert witness on how officers are supposed to respond to inmates who make threats and refuse to cooperate with officers.
'A baton would not be required – period – on a restrained individual,' Hancock said.
As to withstanding verbal threats and taunts, Hancock said it is common for police to hear them from people who are angry over their arrests and officers must learn to ignore them.
'They have to realize we can't go beating up people just because they make verbal assaults toward us or stay things about our family,' Hancock said. 'If we did, we would be beating up everybody.'
The trial against Tribble moved into its second day Friday and will resume today
in U.S. District Court in Columbia. Tribble is charged with violating the civil rights of Charles Shelley, a Camden resident who was arrested Aug. 5 at a road checkpoint in his hometown.
Tribble and a second officer drove Shelley to the Kershaw County Detention Center after the arrest. After their arrival at the detention center, security cameras installed in a secure carport captured footage of Tribble striking Shelley 27 times with his police baton. During the beating, Shelley is seen trying to avoid blows and falling. He was hit while lying on the ground. The blows broke his right leg, and both legs were bleeding and bruised.
Hancock said he had watched the video and could not see any reason why Tribble would have needed to use such force.
In earlier testimony Friday, Shelley took the stand and admitted that he was angry over the arrest. The police transport van was hot and stinky, Shelley said. And Tribble ignored Shelley's request to get his inhaler from his car.
Shelley, a self-described drug and alcohol addict, admitted he loudly cursed and insulted Tribble during the ride to the jail. But, he said Tribble was returning the trash talk. He describe the insults as 'shooting the dozens,' street slang for exchanging verbal barbs with another person.
Upon arriving at the jail, Shelley said Tribble blocked his path to the entrance to the facility when he got out of the van.
'I stood and said, ‘What?' and he commenced to assaulting me,' Shelley said.
Meanwhile, Johnny Gasser, one of Tribble's three defense attorneys, asked a barrage of questions in an attempt to discredit Shelley's story. Gasser insinuated that Tribble gave Shelley multiple opportunities to comply with his orders but that the detainee refused.
'From the minute you got in the van, you never intended to comply with his orders, did you?' Gasser asked.
But Shelley said that was not the case.
And, Shelley denied threatening to hunt down Tribble's wife and daughter even though other people in the van at the time have testified that he did make those threats.
But Scarborough told the jury that Shelley never physically threatened Tribble.