Former North Charleston police officer pleads guilty to misconduct

Former North Charleston police officer Kenneth Ford pleaded guilty Wednesday to misconduct in office.

Circuit Judge Stephanie McDonald ordered Ford to pay a $750 fine; he could have received up to a year in jail, officials said.

Ford declined comment after his plea.

Assistant Solicitor Greg Voigt said the purpose of the guilty plea was to ensure that Ford never again works in law enforcement.

“He needs to find another career,” Voigt said.

Ford was on patrol on July 17, 2012, when he called William Waddy off his porch, handcuffed him and put him in a patrol car. Ford took Waddy to a small business park, where Ford slapped Waddy with an open hand and kicked him, Voigt told the court.

When Waddy told Ford he was recording the incident on his cellphone, Ford took the phone away from Waddy and smashed it, Voigt said.

The incident happened because Ford felt Waddy had given him some sign of disrespect, Voigt said. After the confrontation, Ford took the cuffs off Waddy, who walked away, Voigt said.

The next day, Waddy reported the incident to North Charleston police, who turned the matter over to the State Law Enforcement Division.

Ford told McDonald he is now employed by a cellphone company. His attorney, Melisa Gay, said Ford admits to misconduct in office but otherwise is an exemplary person.

“He basically was under a lot of stress, and the stress of the job got to him,” she said.

She said Ford wanted to be a police officer since he was a child, and was shocked by his own behavior.

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