Colleton Co. leaders take no action on sheriff during council meeting

Colleton Co. leaders take no action on sheriff during council meeting
Colleton County Sheriff R.A. Strickland has placed himself on a leave of absence on Nov. 11. Gov. Henry McMaster suspended him from office on Nov. 21. (Source: Live 5 News)

WALTERBORO, S.C. (WCSC) - Colleton County Council, which was expected to discuss the county’s suspended sheriff during an executive session, did not make any decisions about the sheriff’s pay.

Colleton County Administrator Kevin Griffin, who said last month he planned to consult with county council to decide if Sheriff Andy Strickland’s suspension should be without pay, confirmed no action was taken after Tuesday night’s executive session. Griffin did not provide a reason for the council’s inaction.

Earlier on Tuesday, County Council member Steven Murdaugh said council was expected to discuss Strickland and that it was possible they could discuss whether Strickland should receive pay while he is suspended from office.

Gov. Henry McMaster suspended Strickland on Nov. 21 after a grand jury formally indicted Strickland on a charge of second-degree domestic violence. McMaster was only able to suspend Strickland from office after Strickland was indicted, according to state law.

McMaster spokesman Brian Symmes said the county would have to decide whether Strickland would be paid while he was on suspension.

Strickland was arrested on the charge on Nov. 9 in connection with an incident two days earlier in which he allegedly assaulted the victim by “punching her in the face, with a closed fist, more than once, which caused moderate bodily injury.” Investigators also said the victim suffered a defensive injury to her arm in an attempt to protect her face.

Strickland physically took possession of the victim’s cell phones, “blocking her access to both cell phones, preventing her from reporting the incident or receiving emergency medical assistance,” the affidavit states.

Investigators say he also damaged the vehicle she attempted to flee in.

Strickland placed himself on a leave of absence on Nov. 11.

One week later, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Training Council voted to temporarily suspend Strickland's law enforcement certification pending the outcome of the court case. However, prior to McMaster's suspension order, Strickland could have returned to work because as an elected official, he would not have needed an active law enforcement certification.

McMaster appointed South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Lt. Charles Lytle Ghent to the position of sheriff until Strickland is “acquitted, convicted, the indictment is otherwise disposed of, or until a sheriff is elected and qualifies in the next general election.”

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