Deputy accused of ‘racing’ to non-emergency call was previously suspended

Published: Jun. 9, 2023 at 3:34 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 9, 2023 at 4:15 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - The deputy accused of “racing” another deputy prior to a deadly crash previously faced a one-week suspension without pay, according to records obtained by the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office.

But not for his actions the night of May 8, 2022 when lawyers say he unlawfully sped to a non-emergency call ahead of former deputy Emily Pelletier.

Following a review of videos from Dec. 31, 2022 to Jan. 31, Captain Turner issued a lengthy suspension letter to then-deputy Clinton Sacks detailing all 11 policy violations committed by the 28-year-old in that time period.

This included failing to follow safety protocols during traffic stops, failing to file reports, making crude comments to civilians and driving in excess speeds of 100 miles per hour while not responding to a call.

Turner stated “[i]t is embarrassing to watch these videos and see the level of disservice that was done to the public.”

Sacks was suspended for 56 hours without pay.

A month prior to the suspension the sheriff’s office placed him on administrative leave with pay for three days.

Turner also instructed Sacks he would have one month of remedial training following the suspension, then be placed on a corrective action plan for three months and one year probation.

The suspension happened 10 months after the Mother’s Day crash that took the lives of Stephanie Dantzler and her two daughters, Shanice and Miranda Dantzler-Williams. Pelletier was behind the wheel and is facing criminal charges.

Sacks reportedly sped to the same non-emergency call Pelletier was heading to when the crash occurred.

This came to light in wrongful death lawsuit filed last month which used gps tracking data of the deputies’ patrol vehicles that night.

Just one day prior to the crash, Sacks had passed his annual review and told his supervisor he was planning to become a training instructor.

“If you don’t stop and deter deputies from this dangerous and unlawful driving it is going to continue. And it is only going to change until it is deterred,” Attorney Richard Hricik said.

Attorneys are questioning when and how often this data is reviewed.

“For the Dantzler-Williams families this is all just salt in the wounds and shows that their tragic deaths changed nothing,” Rep. Pendarvis said. “Whatever CCSO thinks is the ‘appropriate review of Deputy speed data’, clearly it is not. CCSO and Charleston County have created and fostered a culture and conditions whereby deputies know that there is non-review, tacit approval, and acceptance for any and all of their dangerous and/or unlawful driving,” he added.

The sheriff’s office spokesman Andrew Knapp said the videos of Sacks were reviewed after a subsequent pursuit per standard protocol.

Hricik and his co-counselors Rep. Pendarvis and Clifford Bush claim there was a missed opportunity to review his actions months prior.

“The goal of this lawsuit is not just to bring justice for the Dantzler-Williams families and their losses, but it is to bring about changes in safety in Charleston County,” Hricik said.

Sacks later resigned from the department just days before the litigation was filed.

The lawsuit has been transferred to federal court and is still pending.