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Attorney General’s office handling criminal investigations into HCPD detectives

Seal of the South Carolina Attorney General's Office. (Source: SCAG.gov) Seal of the South Carolina Attorney General's Office. (Source: SCAG.gov)

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Several detectives with the Horry County Police Department are under criminal investigations by the State Law Enforcement Division, and 15th Judicial Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said these investigations will be handled by the State Attorney General’s Office, not his.

If any charges are made in connection with the current State Law Enforcement Division investigation into HCPD detectives, it will go to the State Attorney General's Office, not the 15th Circuit Solicitors Office, Richardson said.

“In this case, we’ve asked them to turn over their findings to the Attorney General’s Office,” Richardson said. “The Attorney General’s Office has agreed that it would review SLED’s report and go forward with charges, or reject charges, or whatever they want to do.”

Richardson says he sent a letter to the AG's office about this after learning about SLED was looking into a second detective last year. Normally, SLED would turn any findings of an investigation over to the Solicitor of that jurisdiction.

Richardson explained why he instead asked the Attorney General’s office to handle these cases: “In this particular case, the investigations all seemed to be around cases, that more than likely for us, would be detectives that we’d be calling as witnesses,” he said. “If it’s an officer that we have to call back for all these cases, it’s probably a better thing to let someone else hear those and make the decision, whichever way.” 

SLED Spokesman Thom Berry said his office had not officially heard that the case has been turned over, as we were the first to tell him He says the agency is fine with the decision and will work with the Attorney General's Office just like it would work with Solicitor Richardson.

In a previous WMBF News investigation, we've identified one of the detectives in the SLED investigation as now-former detective Allen Large. Large was fired after the department found sustained sexual harassment allegations. A recent lawsuit brought to light the allegations that Large sexually assaulted a victim in a case he was investigating. That lawsuit cited the same SLED investigation. 

"As long as it's a thorough and proper investigation, We'll respect whatever the SLED investigations and Attorney General decide,” said Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police.

These investigations come as both the Chief of Police, Saundra Rhodes, and the Deputy Chief of Support, Scott Rutherford, abruptly announced their retirements from the HCPD without further explanation.

At least one county councilmember and the Sheriff of Horry County, Phillip Thompson, are calling for a consolidation of the HCPD with the Horry County Sheriff’s Office.

Related Stories:

Horry County sheriff calls for consolidation of county police department, sheriff's office

High-ranking member of Horry County Police announces retirement

Veteran detective fired amid sexual harassment allegations

Horry County Police Chief Saundra Rhodes announces retirement

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