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Ex-Summerville police corporal accused of using fist to strike man’s face

Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 12:45 PM EDT|Updated: Nov. 3, 2021 at 5:18 PM EDT
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SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - A corporal with the Summerville Police Department struck a man’s face twice while on duty, records released Wednesday allege.

Robert Barrineau is currently facing a charge of third-degree assault and battery in Dorchester County in connection with an Aug. 20, 2020 traffic stop.

Less than two weeks after the traffic stop, SPD representatives filled out a “separation due to misconduct” form with the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy that indicated that Barrineau had been terminated from the department due to the incident.

The form alleges that during the traffic stop, Barrineau refused to answer “numerous requests” from the person who had been pulled over “as to why he was stopped.”

“Cpl. Barrineau began to extricate the defendant after numerous requests for him to exit the vehicle,” the form says. “A struggle ensues and Cpl. Barrineau can be seen on video striking the defendant in the face twice. Another detective can be seen grabbing Cpl. Barrineau’s arm in what appears to be an attempt to prevent him from delivering more fisk strikes to the man’s face.”

The form says that the unidentified man who was allegedly punched needed to receive medical treatment for his injuries. The document adds that the man did not have a weapon and that prior to the incident, his vehicle was off, his arms were on the steering wheel, and he was holding a cellphone.

“There was no apparent imminent threat or danger to Cpl. Barrineau or to the other officers on scene,” the form states. “Cpl. Barrineau utilizing a closed first and striking the subject in the face was not justifiable, was not objectively reasonable and was a violation of department policy and State law.”

Barrineau’s training history shows that between 2010 and 2012, he served as an officer at the Dorchester County Detention Center, the same facility in which he was booked last month on the third-degree assault and battery charge.

Judicial filings do not list a defense attorney for Barrineau, who is due back in court on Monday.

Barrineau is one of two former SPD employees facing charges that were brought by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

In a separate matter, Wade Rollings, who was a sergeant with the agency, is accused of stealing firearms and cash from the SPD evidence room.

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