Off-duty security officer charged with assault in Taser incident www.privateofficer.com
Depending on who you ask, it is either a case of a vigilante who wrongly went too far or a case of a law-abiding security guard who rightly took the law into his own hands.
The case begins with a car crash on Anderson Road. According to the police report, a driver crashed his truck into Michael Wise’s car and then drove away from the crash.
Wise – thinking it was a case of felony hit-and-run – chose to chase after the other driver.
“Yeah, I’m going to follow you,” he told NewsChannel 36. “I am going to make sure the deputies or the law enforcement deals with you.”
According to Wise, he followed the other car down Anderson Road, onto Liberty Road, into Chester County. The chase ended outside the other driver’s home. NewsChannel 36 has chosen not to name the other driver because he has not been charged.
When the chase ended, Wise tells NewsChannel 36 the other driver tried to take a swing at him. In response, Wise grabbed his TASER and fired one shot at the other man’s ankle.
Deputies with the Chester County Sheriff’s Office arrived just after the TASER was used. After a brief investigation, Wise was arrested for using that TASER. He was handcuffed, taken to jail, and charged with second degree assault.
A detective told NewsChannel 36 that Wise had no right to make a citizen’s arrest because no felony crime had been committed.
However, a quick look at South Carolina law shows that the law is not so open-and-shut. In fact, South Carolina state law outlines several ways in which a citizen can legally make an arrest – not just for felonies, but also in cases where the suspect raises “just suspicion” and “flees when he is hailed.”
“I did what I thought was necessary to keep him there for the police to get there,” Wise said. “I feel like I was under my right under the Constitution of South Carolina.”
Complicating the case even further, the other driver was never charged. Because the chase crossed county lines, Chester County handed off the hit-and-run case to the South Carolina Highway Patrol. No charges were ever filed.
Wise has consulted with an attorney. He also has contacted one South Carolina State Senator and he is asking South Carolina Highway Patrol to investigate further.
“I want them to do their job,” he said. “I want them to arrest this man for what he has done.”
The other driver did briefly talk with NewsChannel 36 by phone. He said he is trying to find a lawyer and he did not want to comment.