Colleton Co. sheriff, deputy face lawsuit after fatal officer-involved shooting
WALTERBORO, S.C. (WCSC) - The Colleton County sheriff and one of his deputies are facing a lawsuit after the deputy fatally shot a man during a welfare check in May.
Sheriff Guerry “Buddy” Hill, Deputy Jacob Scott and the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office are listed in the lawsuit filed Sept. 27 by the family of 55-year-old William Jerry Crosby.
Crosby died at the Colleton Medical Center on May 1 after being shot by Scott, court documents state.
The lawsuit is claiming wrongful death and battery against all defendants. Scott is facing allegations of unlawful entry and excessive force, while claims made against the sheriff’s office and Hill include negligence, gross negligence, negligent hiring and municipal liability.
Details in the sheriff’s office’s investigation report show deputies were originally called out to Crosby’s home near Jacksonboro on May 1, by Crosby’s wife. She was asking for a welfare check, saying, “[Jerry] hasn’t been himself lately” and was threatening to harm himself, according to that report.
After sweeping the house and making contact with Crosby, one of the responding deputies, Scott, shot Crosby. He was transferred to the Colleton Medical Center, where he later died from his injuries.
Crosby was armed when he was shot during an encounter with Colleton County deputies, State Law Enforcement Division spokesman Renée Wunderlich said.
The investigation report from the sheriff’s office shows deputies found a suicide note, a rifle and several fired bullets the night of the incident.
“It is due time that agencies like the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office learn to respect the constitutional rights of the citizens they claim to serve,” Attorney W. Mullins McLeod, Jr., said. “We will not rest until this wrong has been righted.”
Scott was placed on paid administrative leave while SLED was investigating the incident, as is common with officer-involved incidents. Based on SLED’s findings, the solicitor’s office decided not to indict Deputy Scott based on “insufficient evidence or conduct not criminal,” according to the declination letter from the Public Integrity Unit of the 1st and 14th Circuits.
The Colleton County Sheriff’s Office said Scott will be returning to full detail. The agency indicated they would not comment on the suit before it was resolved.
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