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Civil rights violation investigation in South Carolina

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Deputy beat inmate until leg broke
  • NEW: FBI and state police agency to look at civil rights violations in beating case
  • S.C. deputy hit the man 27 times and it was on videotape, a CNN-affiliate says
  • The state police agency is looking into two other brutality cases

(CNN) -- The FBI and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division are investigating possible civil rights violations in the case of a sheriff's deputy who was captured on video beating a handcuffed inmate with a baton.

The Kershaw County Sheriff's deputy was fired after an August 5 surveillance video showed him hitting the inmate dozens of times with a baton, authorities said Monday.

The video shows the deputy leading the handcuffed man from a van toward the jail. The deputy then pulls out his baton and begins swinging it repeatedly at the man's legs, bashing him until he falls to the ground.

Once the man is on the ground, the deputy continues to hit him as at least two other deputies look on. The deputy helps the man up at one point only to slam his face against the hood of the van, the video footage shows.

The man was hit 27 times, CNN-affiliate WIS reported. The beating broke the man's left leg just above the ankle and put a gash in the man's other leg that required stitches, the affiliate reported.

The state police agency released a statement from Kershaw County Sheriff Steve McCaskill.

"As soon as we were made aware of this situation, we contacted SLED and requested that they investigate. This employee has been terminated," McCaskill said in the statement.

The inmate was identified as Charles Shelley, and he was arrested on charges of open container, possession of marijuana, a suspended license and giving false information to police, the affiliate reported.

The deputy said he was angered because Shelley had threatened him and his family when he was driving the man to the jail, the affiliate reported.

Two other police brutality cases under investigation by the state police agency and the FBI, but not related are:

-- The July arrest of a Sumter City police officer accused of assaulting a suspect during a traffic stop. The Sumter City Police Department has fired the officer.

-- The July arrest of two Department of Juvenile Justice correctional officers accused of assaulting a juvenile arrestee. Both of the employees have been fired.

Civil rights investigations also include whether law enforcement officers who were present were required to render aid, Lloyd said in a news conference Tuesday.

"We don't think it is typical behavior in South Carolina, but it's disturbing behavior," Lloyd said. He added that standard police training does not include the method shown in the video.

"You probably shouldn't be hitting anybody with a ... baton while they're handcuffed."

"My personal reaction was like any other person who viewed it," he said, adding that the deputy is presumed innocent. "But you can't watch the video without having some serious concern for what went wrong there."

Lloyd noted that "these allegations do not reflect the professional work of thousands of South Carolina law enforcement officers each and every day. All subjects of these investigations are presumed innocent of these charges at this time."