Symeon Graham

Encougaging Misconduct: Prosecutor shields Sumter deputies in shooting

How in the H-E-double-hockey-stick did two Sumter County sheriff’s deputies who opened fire on an unarmed man “act properly”? Oh, that’s right, later they justified their conduct by concocting a tale straight out of Alice in Wonderland. And in the eyes of Third Circuit Solicitor Ernest A. “Chip” Finney III, that apparently made everything proper.

Sumter County deputies cleared in July shooting

Sumter County Sheriff Anthony Dennis announced yesterday that his two deputies involved in the July shooting, Cpl. Symeon Graham and Senior Deputy Desmond Sabb, were cleared of wrongdoing in an investigation by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, according to WBTV News.

The State newspaper reported that Solicitor Finney reviewed the SLED report and opted not to seek criminal charges against the deputies. “We find that both Sumter County Deputies involved with the shooting acted reasonably when faced with violent and unprovoked action by the subject,” Finney wrote in a letter to SLED investigators.

A spokesman for the sheriff’s office reported that both officers have returned to normal duty.

Numbskulls believing other numbskulls

The SLED investigation stems from events that unfolded on July 18 when Graham and Sabb responded to a domestic dispute near Dalzell, South Carolina. It was a Saturday morning. Upon arriving at the suspect’s home, the deputies claim 39-year-old Michael Deshawn Dinkins “became physically aggressive” with them.

The deputies reacted by trying to subdue Dinkins with their Tasers. (And that’s no typo—both deputies deployed their Tasers.) But, according to their tale of events, Dinkins was unfazed.

In fact, the deputies say that Dinkins—despite having two separate currents running through his body—still had enough wits about him to reach for one of their guns. (It’s worth mentioning that Tasers’ critics “have implicated [them] in hundreds of deaths nationwide,” according to The New York Times. Amnesty International reported in 2012 that more than 500 people have been killed in the U.S. by stun gun shocks.)

And because Dinkins reached for “one of their guns,” that of course justified what came next, when both deputies opened fire on him. Again, not one, but both. Neither officer was injured.

Luckily, Dinkins survived the onslaught. For Finney, that means he can move forward with the resisting arrest and assaulting a law enforcement officer charges the deputies brought against him.

This comes on the heels of a March 21, 2015 report by The State that South Carolina police “have fired their weapons at 209 suspects in the past five years, and a handful of officers have been accused of pulling the trigger illegally – but none has being [sic] convicted.” This is our criminal justice system.

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