Charleston attorney Michael DuPree has been suspended from practicing law while officials investigate allegations that he punched and bit a Utah state trooper during a vacation traffic stop.
DuPree, 49, is accused of attacking a trooper who pulled over a car in which DuPree was riding in Park City, Utah, shortly after midnight March 22, according to a police report. The trooper stopped the car because it was traveling 5 mph over the speed limit and failing to stay in one lane, the report said.
When a trooper tried to question the driver, 48-year-old Rande Lane of Charleston, about how much he had a to drink, DuPree repeatedly interrupted, swore at the officer and refused to identify himself, troopers said. A trooper ended up shocking DuPree with a stun gun after he repeatedly refused commands to get out of the car, the report said.
After being jolted with the stun gun, DuPree punched the trooper in the mouth, splitting his lip, a police report said. The two men then wrestled and DuPree bit the trooper on the arm, breaking skin, before others officers helped subdue him, the report said.
DuPree is charged with two counts of assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, public intoxication and disorderly conduct.
Lane, grounds superintendent for the Charleston Parks Department, is charged with driving under the influence of liquor.
The S.C. Supreme Court placed DuPree on interim suspension in April while the state Office of Disciplinary Counsel reviews the matter to determine if further discipline is warranted. The court also ordered that an attorney be appointed to protect his clients’ interests.
DuPree could not be reached for comment Wednesday. A woman who answered the phone at his office on James Island said he was unavailable and did not wish to discuss the matter.
DuPree worked as a prosecutor for the Charleston County Solicitor’s Office for 14 years and has been in private practice since 2003, handling both criminal defense and civil litigation, according to his website.
His arrest in Utah is not his first tussle with the law.
In October 2003, Charleston police arrested DuPree on resisting arrest and disorderly conduct charges after a disturbance at the Charleston Riverview Hotel on Lockwood Drive.
DuPree was accused of struggling with police officers who tried to arrest him at the hotel after they responded to a report of a fight, according to a police report. Hotel security workers told police DuPree had argued with his wife and then fought with two men who tried to intervene, police said.
A municipal judge later deferred those charges after taking into consideration that DuPree got into a fist fight before his arrest, prosecutors said. The charges were later dismissed after DuPree completed a 30-day period with no further arrests.
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