Another former Honea Path police officer arrested
The state Law Enforcement Division arrested a second ex-police officer in connection with an arrest in which a man alleged the cops used excessive force.
John Newton Bell, a former officer with the Honea Path Police Department, was charged with misconduct in office, SLED said. He made false and contradictory statements to authorities about the arrest of a man in November 2014, according to an arrest warrant. The document alleges the misconduct occurred from Nov. 14, 2014, to March 25, 2015.
Robert Joshua Shaw, 32, was arrested Friday and charged with misconduct in office in connection with the same arrest. He made false and contradictory statements about the arrest from Nov. 14, 2014 to Dec. 17, 2014, according to an arrest warrant.
Bell, 38, and Shaw arrested Brian Hatcher, of Belton, on November 14, 2014.
Police said Hatcher failed to stop for blue lights and led officers on a chase of nearly two miles until pulling over. At some point, Hatcher pulled out a knife and a fight ensued, SLED said at the time. SLED spokesman Thom Berry said Monday he could not comment on the statements the officers made that were false and contradictory in the subsequent investigation.
Tom Dunaway, Hatcher's attorney, said his client suffered a skull fracture, lost hearing in one ear, and loss sight in one eye after the arrest.
SLED began investigating at the request of the Honea Path Police Department, and the officers were placed on administrative leave after the arrest. In April 2015, the Police Department fired Shaw and Bell after meeting with SLED and the 10th Circuit Solicitor's Office.
The misconduct charge carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
The Police Department faced questions about its hiring procedures in the wake of Hatcher's arrest. Police Chief David King addressed those questions in a statement Tuesday. He said nothing reported to the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy would've prevented the hiring of Shaw and Bell.
"This agency accurately reports all incidents that could affect an officer's career," King said in the statement. "I feel that any negative information concerning previous behavior should have been reported to the SCCJA and also provided to us by the other agencies when they were contacted during our background investigation."