A North Charleston man pleaded guilty Monday to pointing a gun at the policeman who shot him when he was 17 years old.
On the day his case was set to go to trial, Carlton Lamont Pringle, 19, was ordered to serve five years on probation.
The sentence was not negotiated, said Assistant Solicitor Culver Kidd, who prosecuted the case.
Pringle had faced up to five years in prison on the felony charge of pointing and presenting a firearm. Ninth Circuit Judge Carmen Mullen handed down the sentence.
In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dropped other charges of unlawfully carrying and possessing a firearm and resisting arrest with a deadly weapon.
Pfc. Anthony Dipaolo of the North Charleston Police Department shot Pringle on March 25, 2012.
Dipaolo had spotted Pringle on Gaynor Avenue, the police said, and Pringle's hairstyle fit the description of a person who had just fired shots in the nearby Ferndale community.
The officer tried to get Pringle's attention, but the young man instead started running. A video of the shooting showed him turn as he ran, and that's when investigators said he pointed a pistol at the officer and got shot several times.
Though Pringle's supporters argued in the media and in a civil rights lawsuit against the police that he hadn't pointed a gun, Monday's plea means that Pringle has admitted the accusation.
"Part of our goal was to validate Officer Dipaolo's actions," Kidd said. "Hopefully, this gives Officer Dipaolo some closure in that regard."
Kidd said he would have encountered a legal challenge in proving some of the other charges against Pringle.
Pringle was not wanted for arrest when Dipaolo tried to stop him, the prosecutor said. He had been walking with a friend when he encountered the officer, and the duo ran in the opposite direction.
Because Pringle was wanted only for questioning when he ran, Kidd saw that as a legal hurdle during a trial.
A large contingent of law enforcement officers attended Pringle's plea hearing Monday morning, prosecutors said. Pringle had been scheduled for such a proceeding earlier this month, but it didn't happen.
Monday's hearing was the result of last-minute negotiations.The development does not affect the civil lawsuit against Dipaolo and his agency, said Robert Phillips, the Rock Hill attorney who filed the litigation.
Monday's hearing was the result of last-minute negotiations, prosecutors said.
The suit alleges excessive force for the half-dozen bullet wounds that Pringle was said to have suffered.
Phillips on Monday deferred questions about the plea to Pringle's criminal law attorney, Gregory Keith of Charleston. Keith deferred questions to Phillips.
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.
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