COLUMBIA -- The federal jury left to decide if a former Kershaw County sheriff's deputy violated a handcuffed man's civil rights by beating him dozens of times with a metal baton ended its first day of deliberations Wednesday without a verdict.
Jurors were sent home for the night after deliberating for nearly six hours if Oddie Tribble should be convicted of a federal civil rights violation. Tribble faces a possible 10-year sentence if he's convicted. Jurors return today.
The 51-year-old law enforcement veteran was fired in August after video surfaced of a deputy beating a handcuffed man dozens of times with the baton. Even though the man he was trying to take to jail was yelling obscenities and threats, Tribble had no official reason to beat him 27 times, breaking his leg, prosecutors said in closing arguments earlier this week.
"Oddie Tribble broke Charles Shelley's skin. He broke his leg. And he broke the law," Assistant U.S. Attorney Tara McGregor said. "It does not matter what Charles Shelley said on the ride to the jail. ... Mr. Shelley's words do not justify the use of force by Oddie Tribble."
Tribble also testified that he hit the man because the inmate was drunk, belligerent and had also made threats against the officer's wife and daughter during the 10-minute ride from the traffic checkpoint where he was arrested and the jail. "He was going to kill my family," Tribble said. "He didn't want me, but he wanted my daughter, my wife."
Surveillance video from two cameras showed the handcuffed inmate struggling with an officer at the Kershaw County jail, about 35 miles northeast of Columbia. After the video came to light, state and federal agents began investigating whether Tribble, who had been with the Kershaw County Sheriff's Department for 12 years, had violated Shelley's rights. Tribble and another guard on duty were fired.
Shelley was taken to a hospital for treatment of his leg before he was booked in the jail on a variety of traffic charges, including driving with a suspended license, having an open container of alcohol and possession of marijuana.