Solicitor: Officer’s actions not unlawful

WINNSBORO – Deputy Solicitor Riley Maxwell of the Sixth Judicial Circuit notified the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) on Tuesday that he does not believe the actions of Winnsboro Public Safety Department (WDPS) Officer Peter Jackson, regarding his treatment of a handcuffed prisoner at the Fairfield County Detention Center on Oct. 8, violate South Carolina criminal law.

Jackson

“Therefore, it is the opinion of the Solicitor’s Office that no criminal charges be filed against Officer Jackson,” Maxwell wrote.

The Voice acquired a video of the incident from the Fairfield County Detention Center through a Freedom of Information Act. The video shows Jackson escorting Andrew Campanelli, 31, under arrest and hands cuffed behind his back, into the intake room at the Detention Center on Oct. 8. An altercation ensued when Jackson asked Campanelli to move to a wall about four feet away.

According to the Sixth Judicial Public Index, Campanelli, who was handcuffed and already under arrest, was charged with assaulting the police officer and resisting arrest. He was released on a $3,000 bond.

While Maxwell stated that it is his opinion that no criminal charges be filed against Jackson, it is not clear whether Maxwell will pursue charges against Campanelli.

Campanelli

Jackson reported that he had arrested Campanelli for throwing two bottles of Mountain Dew at a clerk at the Master Shell convenience store across from Wilson Dodge on S. Congress Street. Both Campanelli and the store clerk told The Voice that Campanelli became angry when the clerk would not accept his driver’s license as ID for the purchase of a pack of cigarettes because the license was expired. Both the clerk and Campanelli told The Voice that Campanelli did not throw the bottles of Mountain Dew but, instead, shoved them off the counter with his arm. The store clerk said one of the bottles hit her and she called the WDPS.

Jackson reported that he spotted Campanelli walking down Congress Street, picked him up and took him back to the store for identification. Jackson reported that he then arrested Campanelli and transferred him to the County Detention Center where the alleged assault took place.

Jackson submitted two incident reports, one right after the incident that included only 4 lines about the convenience store incident and no narrative at all about an altercation between Jackson and Campanelli at the Detention Center and a second one more than a week later.

When The Voice asked WDPS Chief Seibles for a report about the Detention Center incident, Seibles said he could not provide a narrative and also did not make it clear whether such a report exited. However, Seibles also said that he could not release the incident report to The Voice while SLED is investigating the incident.

Seibles told The Voice that it was the officer who was assaulted by Campanelli and that Jackson was not arrested, faced no discipline for the incident and was still on duty.

“I haven’t received any complaints about the incident, so it wouldn’t give me any reason to look at the officer,” Seibles said.

On Wednesday, Oct. 18, WDPS released a second incident report prepared by Jackson that outlined how, when Jackson brought Campanelli into the Detention Center and asked Campanelli to stand against the wall, Campanelli refused.

“I placed my hands on his right arm,” Jackson reported. “At this time, the offender jumped in the air, swinging his head back intentionally, hitting me below my left eye. At this time, I pushed the offender to the wall. The offender hit the wall and it caused a laceration to the left side of his chin. The offender was placed in the cell.”

In the second incident report, Seibles also provided an expanded version of the Mountain Dew incident in which Jackson reported new information – that Campanelli became irate when Jackson picked Campanelli up to take him back to the convenience store for identification.

While Seibles said he did not receive any complaints about the incident from anyone, including the Detention Center or his officers, Fairfield County Deputy Administrator Davis Anderson said he received four reports on the incident as well as a video provided by the Detention Center.

Teresa Lawson, Director of the Center, and Anderson also confirmed last week that the County has banned Jackson from the jail since the Oct. 8 incident.

Seibles conceded that he did receive a no-trespass notice for Jackson from the Center the week of the incident.

In an interview with The Voice, Seibles said he [Seibles] had not wanted to see the Detention Center’s security video of the incident because he did not want to interfere with an investigation SLED is conducting into the incident.

Seibles said last week that he does not plan to view the video until the matter is resolved.

In the Detention Center incident, Campanelli was charged with resisting arrest and assault on a police officer while resisting arrest and released on a $3,000 bond. He was also charged with assault and battery, 3rd degree [a misdemeanor] for the convenience store incident and was released on a $275 bond.

In the second incident report that Jackson prepared last week, his changed the charges for both the convenience store incident and the Detention Center incident to ‘simple assaults.’

Following this story? View related articles: ‘Solicitor: Officer’s actions not lawful,’ Nov. 1, 2017,  ‘SLED investigating assault involving WDPS officer, detainee,’ Oct. 19, 2017 and County bans officer from jail,’ Oct. 26, 2017.  To view an extended version of the detention center video, visit our Facebook page.

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