Excessive force of former Greenville SC deputy, detailed false detention

Daniel J. Gross

| Greenville News

This story was updated with an emailed statement from Benny Jones.

When former Greenville County Sheriff’s Office delegate Ryan Gibson stopped traffic during the summer and the suspect walked away to escape, Gibson went after another man who was nearby, according to a report from the internal affairs department. . Gibson said he believed the two were related and that the passerby was trying to get drugs out of the stationary car.

It turned out that Gibson lied to his fellow deputies and was subsequently fired.

The viewer who was hit and forced into a patrol vehicle said the experience was “terrifying” and said he wants the sheriff’s office to be held responsible.

Details surrounding the July 25 incident were described in an internal affairs report recently obtained from the Sheriff’s Office.

An investigation by the State Law Enforcement Division into Gibson is ongoing, spokesman Tommy Crosby said last week.

Messages to Gibson asking for comments were not returned on Monday.

More: Greenville County deputy fired during investigation of alleged misconduct

The Sheriff’s Office internal affairs report states that Gibson and another deputy were making a stop in traffic when the driver ran away and the second officer chased him. A neighbor and father of three, Benny Jones, was watching events in his backyard when Gibson approached him instead of chasing the suspect at a traffic stop, the report said.

Gibson put Jones in handcuffs and put his knee in Jones’ stomach while pushing his head and neck down to place him in the back of a patrol car, according to the report. Gibson never reported that he used force, which goes against the agency’s protocol that any deputy who uses force must document that force used in a report. Jones continued to ask why he was being detained, but received no response during the arrest, the report said.

“I don’t need to say anything,” Gibson told Jones, according to the report.

Gibson also falsely told other deputies in attendance that he saw Jones reach the window of the stationary car to remove the drugs, which he did not, the record says.

“OK … I spoke badly,” Gibson told investigators during the internal affairs investigation.

Jones was accused of hindering an officer and arrested in Greenville County Prison, although the charge was later dismissed. Jones later sought medical attention after being released, the report said.

Jones filed a complaint with the Sheriff’s Office on July 30 and an investigation was launched. Gibson was found in violation of three general orders based on a deputy’s false detention, assault and misconduct. He was fired from the Sheriff’s Office on August 5.

Jones said he wants to see the Sheriff’s Office make improvements in light of what happened.

“I was beaten up in my own garden in front of my children. It was scary for me and my family,” he said in an e-mailed statement sent to The Greenville News through his lawyer, Jake Erwin. “Mr. Gibson then lied to try to cover up his violent actions. Although I am happy that the truth has been revealed and that Mr. Gibson has suffered consequences for his actions, I would like to see more responsibility from the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office and better training for your leaders. “

Daniel J. Gross is an investigative surveillance reporter with a focus on public safety and law enforcement for Greenville News. Talk to him at [email protected] or on Twitter @danieljgross.