Grand jury indicts Marlboro County sheriff, former deputy on assault, misconduct in office charges
MARLBORO COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office has announced indictments against the Marlboro County sheriff and a former deputy.
Attorney General Alan Wilson announced on Tuesday that a Marlboro County grand jury indicted Marlboro County Sheriff Charles Lemon and former deputy David Cook.
The two are charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature and misconduct in office.
According to the indictments, the charges stem from an incident on May 3, 2020, where Lemon is accused of ordering Cook to deploy his stun gun on Jarrel Lee Johnson at the Marlboro County Detention Center and unlawfully continue to activate the stun gun on Johnson at least two times after the initial taser deployment in order to subdue him.
“[T]he Defendant, while being a deputy for the Marlboro County Sheriff’s Office, did commit an unlawful assault and battery upon a defendant by use of a taser in such a way that could have caused great bodily injury or death,” according to the indictments.
The documents also state that Cook deployed the stun gun into Johnson’s chest and leg.
Because of the indictments, Gov. Henry McMaster has suspended Lemon from office and has appointed former Bennettsville Police Chief Larry McNeil to serve as the interim sheriff until Lemon is acquitted, convicted, the indictment is disposed of or until a sheriff is elected and qualifies in the next general election.
McNeil served as the Bennettsville police chief from 2000 to 2016 and most recently served as the S.C. Department of Social Services Director of Employee Safety and Law Enforcement Liaison until earlier this year.
Cook is no longer employed in law enforcement.
The assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature charge is a felony with a penalty of 20 years in prison.
The misconduct in office is a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
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