AP NEWS

Florence County Sheriff’s Office released statement following social media photos of arrest

February 20, 2019 GMT

FLORENCE, S.C. – Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone is asking the public to withhold judgment until an investigation is complete in the case of a man whose takedown by deputies has been publicized on social media.

According to Boone, the trouble began at a convenience store on East Palmetto Street, where a man asked two different deputies for a ride to Mullins and resisted attempts to restrain him.

The man, identified as Tyler Fleming, 34, of 227 Johnson St. in Marion, has been charged with breach of peace, resisting arrest and threatening the life of a public employee. He is being held at the Florence County Detention Center with his bond set at $3,872.

The sheriff’s statement was issued after photos surfaced on social media.

The photos show the takedown and arrest – including one photo of the man in a choke hold. There is no visible injury to the person in the photos made public.

An email request asking the sheriff’s office whether there was body cam or dash cam video of the incident was not responded to.

In his statement, Boone said the man was “acting strangely and asking for a ride to Mullins.”

Boone said a deputy told the man she couldn’t give him a ride and he walked away. Shortly after that, a sheriff’s office supervisor arrived and “noticed the subject interact with a store customer, who looked at him as if he needed assistance as the subject walked back into the store.”

Boone said the man “became disorderly and began cursing loudly” when the supervisor tried to run a check through Central Dispatch.

“The subject ignored repeated requests to calm down,” Boone said. “While being detained for further questioning, the subject refused to follow reasonable verbal instructions and resisted officer’s attempts to properly detain him, forcing the officer to take the subject to the ground. The subject continued to resist and threatened to kill the officers involved in the incident. The subject was not injured but was taken into custody.”

The sheriff added: “Certain photographs of this encounter taken by citizens have been circulated on social media. While the photographs we have seen so far are selective and limited in nature, they are concerning to us. Public confidence that we discharge our law enforcement duties in a fair and impartial manner is essential to our mission, and we are investigating to determine what happened in this case. Once the investigation is concluded, we will report our findings. While that investigation is going on however, we ask that the public reserve judgment until all of the facts are known.”