Sheriff Al Cannon asks SLED to investigate high speed chase

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon is asking the State Law Enforcement Division to investigate whether he or other deputies broke the law during a high speed chase where he admits to slapping the suspect.

In video released, investigators are seen taking the driver, Timothy McManus to the ground, hitting him and letting the dog bite him.

In a letter to SLED, the sheriff writes that because he is personally involved he wants another agency to investigate.

This past week an online petition called for the sheriff to resign following the release of the videos. A day after the petition came out, two new petitions emerged supporting him.

Sheriff Cannon's letter to SLED:

Dear Chief Keel:

As you know, I requested that your agency investigate an officer-involved shooting which occurred during the high speed pursuit of a vehicle driven by Timothy Shawn McManus on January 30, 2012.  We also asked that your agency investigate the ensuing arrest as well as my personal involvement in the incident.

Because I actually acted in the McManus pursuit, I do not believe that my agency has the capability of conducting an unbiased internal affairs investigation which would normally ensue following an incident such as this.  As you are aware, ordinarily Deputies assigned to my Office of Professional Standards would conduct an administrative investigation into whether the actions of the Sheriff's Office personnel were within the policies of the agency.  We would also conduct a critical incident review and a pursuit review.  Those internal findings would ultimately come to me as the elected Sheriff to make decisions with respect to those findings.  That I am personally involved places the deputies who would normally be involved in this process in an untenable position.

Therefore, and I recognize that this is an unusual request, I am asking that you consider investigating the pursuit itself in relation to our policies.  By making this request, I am cognizant of the fact that the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division does not normally review every aspect of a case like this where there was a pursuit followed by force using during and after an arrest.  However, we believe that this case would be better served by one large-scale investigative process, and since your agency is already involved, it seems logical to ask your consideration to expand your efforts.

Per protocol, I assume you will provide the appropriate prosecuting authority the results of your investigation for a determination as to whether I or any member of the Charleston Sheriff's Office violated any laws as a result of our actions.  As a step further, I would also ask that given your experience as the agency head for the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division as well as your experience as the former Director of the Department of Public Safety, you make recommendations as to any appropriate disciplinary measure for any violations of the law or policy for all involved, including me.  Having your though and input in both the underlying incident as well as proposes punishment for any perceived violations would aid me in what may ultimately be difficult decisions.

Please be assured of my complete cooperation.  I will make myself available to your agents when needed.

Please let me have your thoughts as to whether you agree to conduct a global investigation of all the issues arising in the McManus incident, to include the pursuit itself.  There is some sense of urgency to this matter since at this juncture we have not begun the usual review processes because of the potential for conflict.  And, memories fade.


J. Al Cannon, Jr.


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