BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - A Berkeley County sheriff's corrections officer is assigned to desk duty after being accused of slapping and punching a handcuffed suspect who spit in his face last month.
According to authorities, 44-year-old Thomas Howard Simmons was at the intake room of the Hill Finklea Detention Center on Jan. 20 arrested for disorderly conduct when he spit on an officer.
On video released by officials, it appears that Officer Robert Thomas slaps Simmons in the face with an open hand and punches him in the back of the head before holding his head down until help arrives.
Berkeley County Sheriff Wayne Dewitt says that when Simmons spit at Thomas' face,"Thomas defended himself from further assault, subdued and held [Simmons'] head down until other correctional officers arrived."
Investigators report that Simmons had several brushes with the law before and many of them of a violent nature. Dewitt said that Simmons has not filed any complaints or charges since he was released and no injuries were reported.
Dewitt did say that there was a good chance that Simmons may possibly be charged for spitting on the officer.
The Berkeley County Sheriff's Office says they are doing an internal investigation.