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SC sheriff admits emotions got the best of him after wild chase when he slapped cuffed suspect

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posted on Feb, 2 2012 @ 02:35 PM
It isn't often a county sheriff gets involved in high speed pursuits, much less initiates them. But this past Monday, January 30th, Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon witnessed a vehicle driving recklessly through what was probably pretty heavy traffic at the time. Cutting off cars including the sheriff's unmarked SUV, driving on the sidewalk almost hitting another vehicle and speeding. And that's just the start of this.

I'm gonna tell a long story now for background and then tell what the sheriff did.

I used to live in Charleston, and at 10 AM on a Monday morning there is usually quite a bit of traffic in the area this started. And almost none where it ended. But here's what happened, according to filed police reports and Charlestons Post & Courier newspaper. After witnessing the reckless driving, the sheriff turned on the lights in his unmarked SUV. The subject was driving North, or East...depending on how you look at it and whether your from

After turning on his lights and siren, the sheriff reported to dispatch he was in pursuit. Fortunately...the direction they were headed was AWAY from populated areas. At least 2 other deputies joined the pursuit. The sheriff's SUV is limited to 95 mph, but other patrol vehicles were driving 120 just to keep up with the suspect. At some point, the suspect turned onto a dead end forest road. The sheriff blocked his least partially and drew his weapon.

The suspect sat for a minute about 100 yards away, then began speeding towards the sheriff again. The sheriff, who probably at this point had the right to use deadly force, chose to shoot at the suspects tires instead. 9 times. But the suspect got past. Just for reference, I know this area. There was nothing here. No people and no chance of anything other than a tree blown down by Hurricane Hugo in 1989, or the vehicle being hit.

The chase kept going. Other deputies placed stop sticks out, more shots fired at the suspect and finally the pursued vehicle stopped. This was witnessed by a woman and her young daughters:

At that point the right front tire was shredded and the left rear was blown out, and the truck "skidded straight into the intersection (of Willow Hall and Steed Creek roads), where he (McManus) bailed out and a canine caught him," Cannon said.

The end of the chase was witnessed by Kirsten Crawford, her cousin and two young children. They were out for a ride down Steed Creek Road when deputies forced her to stop in the median just north of U.S. 17. That's where the speeding Ram swerved around the deputies' stop sticks and nearly struck Crawford's Isuzu pickup.

Crawford said a deputy, who was close enough to touch her own vehicle, opened fire on the pickup.

"I knew the cops wouldn't shoot us," she said. "But I was worried the man was going to shoot back at the police officers."

Crawford said she covered her daughter and son in the back seat of her pickup as the bullets flew.

"We were just going out to take a leisurely ride, but it wasn't so leisurely," Crawford said. "This will be a good Facebook status: Almost shot at in a police chase."

Cannon said he was relieved to see the chase end.

Post is from same link as above.

Yesterday, more details were released. The subject fought back even though he was outnumbered. Spit on officers, and eventually was bitten by a police dog. He finally surrendered after the dog was released, and cuffed. The dog was quickly pulled off, but the suspect continued to fight and spit even after finally being cuffed. Yesterday's update.

Finally, I read an update in today's Post & Courier and was amazed at what I saw. The sheriff who had already shot at the suspects vehicle, had probable cause to have shot at him instead and then had fought with the subject to get him cuffed submitted a supplemental incident report to the State Law Enforcement Division.(SLED) SLED was investigating anyways because weapons were discharged and it is state policy.

But Sheriff Al Cannon admitted his emotions got the best of him. He wrote in his report he slapped the already cuffed subject with his open hand while yelling at him. He basically, admitted wrongdoing on his behalf at the end of the chase and admitted slapping the subject.

Cannon provided copies of a written statement he sent to SLED. In it, he confides that when the chase ended he was relieved and angry, believing McManus had "put so many people in jeopardy."

"I approached the vehicle in which McManus, handcuffed, had been placed, openned (sic) the back door and asked him loudly, using a profanity: What the (BLANK) is wrong with you and he replied 'Ain't nothin wrong with me man,' " Cannon said in the statement, which was written as an incident report supplement.

"At this point I slapped him once with my opened hand and said 'You could have killed a lot of people,' and slammed the door," Cannon's report said.

Cannon said he has no idea what penalty he might have to pay for the slap. "It's out of my hands," he said, adding that as an elected official, "it might end up being a political issue at the polls."

Today's Story

We all hear every day about police brutality. And excessive force. We all complain about it. But rarely, if ever, do we hear of a LEO, especially an elected Sheriff admitting to state investigators he did something wrong. Remember, the sheriff probably could have shot the suspect earlier on when he was driving towards him in an aggressive manner. He and his deputies were spit at and on. This offender has a long history of this and was, not surprisingly, driving while under suspension. 3 times. Emotions are a part of the human psyche. They affect all of us...or most all of us.

Anyone involved in this type of pursuit might have felt like doing more than slapping the guy with an open hand. But very few if any would admit it, and then turn in official paperwork admitting his mistake. While I know hitting this guy was does the sheriff, I will have to commend sheriff Al Cannon for being honest. I bet this actually happens a lot. Adrenaline is racing, emotions are high. It has to happen. All the time. Yet we only hear about it from other means. So my hats off to Sheriff Cannon. He might not have kept his cool, but he could have done a lot worse. And he could never have said a word, and we would probably never have heard about it happening.
There was a poll today in the link from today's paper on whether the sheriff should face administrative action for slapping this guy. It was overwhelmingly in support of the sheriff. He may have to face actions. He knows he might not get re-elected even if nothing else comes of this because of this. Yet he chose to do the right thing and admit his mistake anyways.

We need more police like Sheriff Cannon in my opinion. The guy led the police on a 25 mile chase. Almost hitting at least 10 other vehicles and then resisted arrest. I hope the courts do more than just "slap his wrists."

edit on 2-2-2012 by webpirate because: spelling

posted on Feb, 2 2012 @ 02:43 PM
This criminal deserved much more than a "slap" for the dangerous situation he caused.

Good for the sheriff to admit what happened, and not try to cover it up.

Hopefully the criminal is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,
and the sheriff continues in a job well done.

...and good job creating this thread webpirate. A great telling of the story.

edit on 2-2-2012 by isyeye because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 2 2012 @ 02:56 PM
reply to post by webpirate

I was almost out of room in my OP, so I'm adding this here. Sheriffs in highly populated areas don't often see a lot of action. The deputies might, and some of them might have had a lot more recent experience with high speed pursuits than Sheriff Cannon has. But emotions can and do run high in life and death situations.

And this falls into that category, at least to an extent. I can't say that I would have been able to contain myself as well as the sheriff. I'm not advocating police brutality at all. The sheriff knows he was wrong. And has admitted it. But then could have been worse. He could have pummeled him with a closed fist. He could have tazered him. But all he did was an open handed slap. He could have even shot him earlier, and probably found to be in the right.

How many of us, would have had the self control the sheriff had. And how many of us would have reported it ...knowing the potential repercussions?
I honestly can't say that I would have had the control or made the report. Yet he did. As I said before, if we had more officers like Sheriff Cannon, we might not have the public's outcry against LEO's today.

posted on Feb, 2 2012 @ 04:59 PM
Is it okay to infringe upon someone's civil rights just because you're angry?

Don't you think most crimes are caused by peoples emotions?

Should the laws the officer broke change based on emotions, job title, or admission?

Don't you think the reckless driver was also breaking the laws because of his emotions?


The slap is not okay.
The police officer's admission of breaking the law should not free him of any penalties unless we can all enjoy the same privilege. We all suffer from "temporary insanity."

Don't get me wrong though. I'm not for the cop receiving punishment; I'm for equal forgiveness for all.

posted on Feb, 2 2012 @ 05:06 PM
You tell that Sheriff if he ever does that again I'm gonna give him a good talking to.Oh and KILL that suspect please.

posted on Feb, 2 2012 @ 05:25 PM

Originally posted by Bleeeeep
Don't get me wrong though. I'm not for the cop receiving punishment; I'm for equal forgiveness for all.

Exactly. But, unfortunately, we are still labeled as "cop haters" when we point out the preferential treatment LEOs have.

Good for the policeman to admit his wrong doing. But if he gets away with the crime. IMO, they should strike one crime off the record of everyone in the US.

posted on Feb, 2 2012 @ 05:28 PM
reply to post by Bleeeeep

I agree with you. I would suspect a very large percentage of crimes are driven by emotion of some kind. Was it justified? Probably. Was it wrong? Probably. Even the sheriff admitted that.

I have a feeling though, no matter what SLED does, the sheriff will probably do the same thing to himself he would do to any of his employees who did something like this. Simply because he admitted it. If that's a week off without pay, I would bet he does it. I guarantee though, if he did do something like that to himself, he would gain a lot of respect. Even more than he already has.

We all know it probably isn't practical for the sheriff to take a week off or whatever it is. But the without pay part I would bet he would stick to. IF that was how he would have handled it were it a deputy of his. And I do think he should be treated no differently.

I do not think criminal charges should or will be brought against him. He could have already killed the guy and it had been justified. But I just have this feeling, he will treat himself like he would treat an employee who did this who had no history of this type of behavior. I would bet a first time offender for something like this....because it the grand scheme of really is minor...he wouldn't be fired. Well..a deputy wouldn't be. The sheriff is an elected position though, so that would be up to the voters to decide. But judging from the poll I saw earlier he had almost 75% of the respondents backing.

posted on Feb, 2 2012 @ 05:36 PM
reply to post by webpirate

I agree with just about everything you said.

I would gain much respect for him too if he punished himself. Also...I don't think criminal charges should be filed. Just departmental punitive leave or whatever is the policy.

posted on Feb, 2 2012 @ 05:49 PM
As a general rule, I tend to be stridently anti-cop, as a result of certain facts about the way I choose to live my life and certain legal complications pertaining to said. But in this case I can't fault this sheriff for what he did, based on what I read. You put a lot of lives on the line when you drive stupidly and run from the cops behind the wheel. The cop could have used lethal force but didn't, a slap in the face is the least of what he deserves.

posted on Feb, 2 2012 @ 06:14 PM
Shoot I'd vote for him. That idiot (the guy running) deserve to be put in a stockade where the whole damn town and slap him a few times. The police could have killed him, instead they chose not to.. I think he got off easy with a slap.

posted on Feb, 2 2012 @ 07:06 PM
Me thinks the Sheriff should be more worried about getting to the shooting range. Sounds like hes out of practice =) You can kill someone just as easy by missing as you can aiming, but luckily for him, he was nowhere near the public when he was shooting at the dipstick(pg version).

I have really mixed feelings about highway pursuits. Especially; when theres other motorists around, and their lives are then put in the hands of a cat and mouse.

I concur with most in here, its against the law to slap him. The Sheriff should have just shot him dead while he was defending himself. He would have done everyone a favor.

Im all about Self-Defense =)

Edit To Add One Thing- HAHAHA at the lady who said------ "I knew the cops wouldn't shoot us," she said. "But I was worried the man was going to shoot back at the police officers."

Tell me what you find odd about that statement. And you will get a brownie point from me.
edit on 2-2-2012 by Common Good because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 2 2012 @ 09:04 PM
reply to post by Common Good

As for the pursuit, I think if it wasn't headed towards a very unpopulated area they might have called it off. I too have mixed feelings about pursuits. And I think they didin Charleston when I was there. And no...I'm not a cop.

Then again, the description from the sheriff about the initial way this guy was driving it may have continued anyways.

As for your edit, I have no clue other than she was supposedly ducked down so how could she know?

posted on Feb, 2 2012 @ 09:28 PM
Yeah, that's not police brutality. That's just a douchebag getting what he deserves.

The fact that the Sheriff even admitted he lost it a bit is really cool. This cop ought to be commended for having the forthrightness to admit that he "got carried away" (well, I don't really think he did, but hey).
edit on 2-2-2012 by AnIntellectualRedneck because: (no reason given)

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