A South Carolina sheriff, Alex “Big A” Underwood, grabbed and arrested a man from Chester County who streamed a Facebook Live video of a traffic wreck, prompting his lawyer to say the incident was “not a good look for law enforcement.”
Kevin Simpson, 26, told The Post and Courier he began a Facebook Live stream on Nov. 22 when he noticed emergency crews in front of his house in Chester County, a rural area between Columbia and Charlotte.
“I wanted to let everyone know what was going on, warn people to check on their people to see if they were OK.”
About 26 minutes into his stream, Underwood, the sheriff, approached with a flashlight and ordered him to get on the porch. Underwood said they were looking for someone in connection with the wreck.
“I’m doing a manhunt out here,” Underwood can be heard saying. "I've got somebody who's armed and dangerous out here."
“We’re good. We’re in our yard,” Simpson said as stepped onto the porch. As Underwood walked away, Simpson shouted back: “Manhunt!” Underwood, carrying a flashlight and radio, then reversed course. “You got something to say?”
Simpson said “manhunt” again, and Underwood appears to grab him, with the video footage bouncing around as the phone and Simpson go down. Simpson, who uses the name LilDave Richardson on Facebook, said he felt like he was attacked because he challenged Underwood’s authority.
Underwood was not available for comment, Chester Chief Deputy Robert Sprouse said. "We've got an open case, so we're not going to be making any comments about it."
It’s not the first time Underwood has been involved in scuffle captured on video.
In 2014, Underwood and his deputies tussled with two Chester County firefighters at another vehicle accident. The dispute reportedly began over who should control traffic. West Chester Fire Chief Andrew Martin and his brother, Martin, spent a night in jail on assault charges. After a State Law Enforcement Division investigation, the charges were dismissed. The two firefighters later sued Underwood and settled out of court, court records show. Underwood, a retired SLED agent, has been sheriff since 2012.
In the Nov. 22 incident, Simpson and his mother, Ernestine, also were arrested – Simpson on charges of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, and his mother with grand larceny. Deputies alleged that his mother picked up a deputy’s radio after the scuffle and took it into her house.
Everett B. Stubbs, a Chester attorney for the Simpsons, declined to comment on the details of the case but said the video is “obviously not a good look for law enforcement.”
Simpson said he and his mother spent several days in jail, including Thanksgiving, because no magistrates were available to set bail. He said he thought his live stream set Underwood off, and that deputies were trying to take his phone.
“They had me on the ground, and I threw my phone under the house so they wouldn’t get it,” Simpson said. “They knew I had evidence on it.” Facebook Live videos also are stored online. He said he's considering a lawsuit.