Lawyer: Civil lawsuit possible in high speed chase involving sheriff

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The lawyer representing a driver arrested after a high-speed chase with the Charleston County sheriff says that a civil lawsuit could be a possibility.

"We're exploring all possibilities at this point as far as civil litigation," said W. David Johnson who is representing 31-year-old Timothy McManus."It seem apparent that his civil liberties were violated."

In dash camera video released, investigators are seen taking McManus to the ground, hitting him and letting a dog bite him following a high speed chase from Mt. Pleasant to Awendaw last month.

"He was willing to do whatever the sheriff's office told him to do," Johnson said regarding the end of the chase where McManus' car crashes. "And at that point for some reason they decided that they were going to take matters in their own hands, so to speak."

Cameras on cruisers showed one investigator punch McManus in the face and a dog biting him. Following the release of the videos, petitions emerged calling for Sheriff Al Cannon to step down as well as petitions supporting him.

Cannon did admit that he cursed and slapped the suspect in the face following the chase. Johnson said that the treatment that McManus' was given by law enforcement was not deserved.

"Yes, apparently he ran a traffic light. Yes, he did not stop when the sheriff put on the blue light. But I don't think he deserved what he got at the end," Johnson said.

Johnson said the whole incident started when McManus was heading to work and Sheriff Cannon attempted to stop him. McManus told Johnson at that point he "freaked out."

"[Shawn's] quite apologetic and never meant to put anyone in harm's way," Johnson said.

Johnson added that at this point he doesn't feel like the case will be going to trial.

"This whole thing seems to be out of character for Shawn and hopefully he can move beyond this," Johnson said.

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