Sheriff Cannon cleared of civil rights violations for slapping chase suspect

Sheriff Al Cannon (right), slapped Timothy McManus (left), while McManus was in custody after a high-speed chase in January. The federal Department of Justice on Friday announced Cannon was cleared of any civil rights violations in the case.

Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon has been cleared of civil rights violations for slapping a suspect after an extended car chase.

The Department of Justice “reviewed the investigation and no charges will be filed,” FBI Special Agent Brian Womble confirmed Friday.

Meanwhile, the Mount Pleasant man charged with leading deputies on that infamous high-speed pursuit in January was arrested again Friday. Timothy McManus, 31, was booked into the Charleston County jail shortly before 10 a.m.

He was taken into custody at the county courthouse after a circuit judge revoked the bond he had been granted on charges tied to that January chase; McManus had been arrested again in August.

The review of Cannon's conduct was undertaken unilaterally by the Justice Department. After the decision not to pursue charges was announced, Cannon's lawyer said the matter ended correctly.

“DOJ unquestionably did the right thing, as the sheriff has already accepted accountability on a state level,” said Charleston attorney Sandy Senn. “Now the focus can return to ending McManus' ability to drive, as clearly if he is not in jail, he'll find a set of keys and put the public at risk.”

Cannon acknowledged slapping McManus. He was charged with third-degree assault and battery, and is enrolled in a pre-trial intervention program available to first-time offenders.

Announcement of the DOJ decision was unrelated to McManus' bond revocation Friday, Senn said.

McManus had a suspended license on Jan. 30 when Cannon said McManus' Dodge Ram nearly collided with his cruiser. The encounter ignited a 25-mile chase through East Cooper that reached speeds of 120 mph and ended when Cannon and deputies shot out the pickup's tires in the Francis Marion National Forest.

Cannon admitted to slapping McManus as he sat handcuffed in a sheriff's vehicle.

For that incident, McManus faces two traffic tickets and misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and failure to stop for blue lights.

A magistrate judge had placed him on house arrest after the incident, and his bond conditions did not allow him to drive, 9th Circuit Assistant Solicitor Jennifer Shealy said.

In August deputies arrested McManus again after sheriff's officials said he was found sleeping behind the wheel of a sport-utility vehicle that was still in drive on Six Mile Road.

In that incident he faces a count of third-offense driving under suspension, being a habitual offender, borrowing or lending a license tag, and operating an uninsured motor vehicle.

Because he violated his first bond, he will remain in jail until his trial, Shealy said. She didn't know when that might be.