N. Chas. officer fired over offense

The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating a report of misconduct against a North Charleston police officer who was fired last week.

In his first year of employment in North Charleston, a city police officer has been fired after he was accused of misconduct.

Officer Kenneth Ford was forced out July 23, five days after someone lodged the complaint against him. The North Charleston Police Department hired him in November, spokesman Spencer Pryor said.

The department’s Office of Professional Standards fielded the citizen’s report around 9 p.m. July 18. It described an “incident of misconduct,” according to a department statement, but Pryor would not provide further details.

In response to a request under the S.C. Freedom of Information Act, Pryor said the State Law Enforcement Division “has possession of the complaint document as a part of their investigation.”

Kathryn Richardson, SLED’s spokeswoman, acknowledged an investigation existed but provided no additional information about the case.

North Charleston Police Chief Jon Zumalt asked the state agency to open an inquiry two days after receiving the complaint involving Ford.

Regarding previous incidents, Zumalt has said his department acts swiftly in conducting its own probe into allegations against police officers. When Sgt. Eddie Bullard was shot July 4, for example, Zumalt said investigators quickly realized that his story didn’t make sense. The chief announced Bullard’s firing two days later, when he said during a news conference that the sergeant concocted the story and had shot himself.

Bullard has not faced charges in connection with the incident as SLED’s investigation remains open.

Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414.