Two Charleston police officers are on paid leave as the state investigates body camera footage that appears to show one of them hitting a handcuffed man they arrested July 1.
The State Law Enforcement Division and Charleston Police Department haven't yet determined whether the officer's use of force was necessary to apprehend the suspect, who'd sent two other officers to the hospital as he fought to get away, Chief Luther Reynolds said.
"This is the exact type of police work we want our officers doing. It's important we do this type of work. ... It's also expected that we use force in some of these cases," Reynolds said. "But when somebody's in handcuffs, that's not appropriate."
Police had heard reports that a man was walking around homes and trying car door handles on the peninsula, and stopped to question Rashad Robinson, according to Reynolds. When Robinson was evasive, they tried to detain him and were injured in a scuffle before he broke away, he said.
Department veterans Lt. Arthur Myers and officer Kevin Schlieben chased the 27-year-old North Charleston resident and arrested him on charges of trespassing, jaywalking and evading arrest.
Once Robinson was in handcuffs, body camera footage recorded Schlieben apparently hitting him, Reynolds said. The footage was reviewed the next morning and the officers were interviewed, per department protocol. Schlieben and Myers, his supervisor, were suspended with pay about a week later.
The internal investigation is almost over, Reynolds said, and SLED is continuing to determine whether criminal charges are warranted.
It's the first investigation of its type that Reynolds has seen in his year and a half as chief, he said. The department has a low rate of use of force, he said, and investigates each incident immediately.
"We want to make sure we're an organization of integrity, that we're reviewing these incidents and having the right outcomes," Reynolds said. "Our officers need to know that we support them ... if it's reasonable, it's justified and it's necessary. If we're not sure, we're going to investigate."