Deputy charged with punching teen during W. Ashley traffic stop

Pittman filed a lawsuit after the incident.
Pittman filed a lawsuit after the incident.
A still frame from the video showing the attack.
A still frame from the video showing the attack.
Christopher Davis was booked at the detention center on Friday. (Source: CCDC)
Christopher Davis was booked at the detention center on Friday. (Source: CCDC)

WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCSC) - A Charleston County Sheriff's Office deputy has been charged with assaulting a teen during a traffic stop in West Ashley last fall.

Deputy Christopher Davis, 27, turned himself in Friday morning to face the charge of third-degree assault and battery of 19-year-old Devante Antwan Pittman. SLED officials say Davis hit Pittman with closed fists.

Davis' arrest comes following a SLED investigation and an internal investigation by the sheriff's office.

The deputy appeared before a bond court judge Friday morning and was released on a personal recognizance bond.  The sheriff's office has placed him on administrative leave without pay. 

Last fall, Pittman filed a lawsuit against the sheriff's office and the deputies who stopped him on Nov. 11 on Orleans Road.

Pittman's lawyer alleged Davis and two other deputies used excessive force during the stop.

According to the lawsuit, Pittman was driving his Dodge Charger on Savannah Highway around 11 p.m. when he turned onto Orleans Road and noticed flashing blue lights from two Charleston County Sheriff's Office cruisers behind him.

Pittman's attorney said his client immediately pulled over near the Monster Music on Orleans Road and began to search for his driver's license and vehicle registration.

At that time, the lawsuit states Deputy Christopher Davis approached the window and told Pittman he was being stopped and ticketed for failure to use his turn signal.

The lawsuit states Pittman told Davis he thought he had used his turn signal, which prompted Davis to reach his right hand through the open window on the driver's side and strike Pittman in the face, repeatedly, with a flashlight.

Pittman's attorney said two other deputies then walked over and helped Davis force Pittman from the vehicle.

The lawsuit alleges the deputies restrained Pittman as Davis pulled the back of Pittman's head and repeatedly struck him in the face with his right fist.

The lawsuit states "the force of Davis's blows was so severe that one of [Pittman's] teeth, along with some of the bone attached to the tooth, was knocked out."

Video released from the incident appeared to back up Pittman's claims.

"I can tell you he did absolutely nothing to provoke it and for whatever reason, they beat the living you know what out of him," Pittman's attorney, Lionel Lofton said. "This young man's civil rights were violated. There was excessive force."

Pittman had been charged with assault and battery on a police officer for the incident. That charge is still pending, but is not expected to hold up.

Davis began working for the Charleston County Sheriff's Office as a detention officer in June 2010.  He was sworn in as a deputy in April 2011.

Copyright 2013 WCSC.  All rights reserved.