Man accusing Berkeley Co. Sheriff’s Office of excessive force wants federal jury trial

Man accusing Berkeley Co. Sheriff’s Office of excessive force wants federal jury trial

BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - A Huger man who has accused the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office of excessive force now wants a federal jury trial.

Bernard Beaufort claims he was viciously and brutally attacked by deputies who responded to a 911 call from his son at his home.

Beaufort’s federal lawsuit details his injuries from the encounter that happened on Oct. 13, 2018 as a fractured eye socket, two broken ribs, injuries to his leg and knee, and cuts and bruises.

“The force used constituted deadly force in that it could have caused death and did, in fact, cause serious bodily injury,” the court documents stated.

Beaufort also claims the incident was motivated by race.

“On information and belief, the actions described above were motivated in whole or in part by the fact that the individual defendants are white and the Plaintiff is African-American,” court documents said.

The lawsuit goes on to say Beaufort was charged with public disorderly conduct following the incident, “for the sole purpose of obscuring the facts underlying the Defendants' use of excessive force.”

The lawsuit described the charge as a falsehood both legally and factually and constitutes abuse of process.

“In their eagerness to divert liability for and cover up their vicious and brutal attack upon the Plaintiff, a defenseless man, in concert or conspiracy, Defendants then decided to falsely, illegally, and maliciously charge the Plaintiff with the offence of public disorderly conduct.” court documents stated.

The complaint also claims the Berkeley County Sheriff encouraged, ratified, and tolerated this kind of behavior by his deputies.

Bernard Beaufort Jr. reported that his father, Bernard Beaufort Sr., pointed a gun at him during an argument.

While deputies were gathering more information, Beaufort Sr. refused to be placed in handcuffs, according to the incident report.

In the body camera video released by the sheriff’s office, one officer explains Beaufort Sr. is being detained, not arrested.

The incident report describes a physical altercation between Beaufort Sr. and an officer, where Beaufort Sr. resisted being detained. The lawsuit claims the initial call to 911 was a lie, as his son, who has a diagnosed mental illness but was unmedicated at the time, admitted to making false statements.

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