And…..KABOOM! Andrew Knapp of the P & C does some good work and sets off a bomb in the middle of the special election for Berkeley County Sheriff.
We have been working behind the scenes on that story, taking our time with it and gathering bits and pieces. Kudos to Knapp for getting it out there. See, we always give credit where credit is due. As usual, we have to point out the lack of any negative reporting about BCSO by local media outlets while their boy Wayne DeWitt was running the show. Or maybe this was only published due to the liberal hatred of the death penalty. No matter, it’s out there now.
It doesn’t help BCSO that the shady deals detailed in this article occurred in a case involving the death of a law enforcement officer in July of 2002. If BCSO is willing to go that far in such a serious case, imagine what they would be willing to do in other less serious incidents. It also makes you wonder why they felt the need to plant evidence in order to keep someone from testifying.
We have been getting all sorts of information relative to the murder of Trooper Johnson and have even seen some claims that he was actually killed by a bullet from a fellow LEO and the ballistics reports in the case have varied or been changed. To be honest, we never gave that claim much credence, but in light of what we have learned recently, we have to reconsider that stance. Not that it would matter much in this situation. Sapp had a gun and fired on officers after telling several people he planned to commit suicide by cop. If Johnson was killed as a result of LEO crossfire, Sapp is still responsible for that outcome.
We should point out we normally don’t agree with much of what Ashley Pennington has to say. He is a defense lawyer, after all. However, after doing our own research over the past two years, talking to both civilians and law enforcement witnesses about improprieties at BCSO and in light of the P&C article which confirms much of what we were told, we have to agree with Pennington that something underhanded occurred. BCSO has managed to taint the entire investigation into the death of a well liked, well respected law enforcement officer who lost his life in the line of duty. That is bound to piss off more than a few of their fellow cops who understandably would like nothing more than to see Sapp with a needle in his arm.
The article by Knapp is a who’s who of current candidates for sheriff. And you thought we were joking when we told you electing anyone with ties to DeWitt or BCSO would just mean more of the same for Berkeley County.
After we posted our initial assessment of some of the candidates running for sheriff we were contacted by Ricky Driggers. Here is what he had to say.
Driggers was the only candidate to reach out to us, so we engaged him. Intrigued by his offer to answer questions we started preparing a list. Several days passed because our researcher with all the notes on BCSO was on vacation. On February 24th, Driggers sent us another email.
On 25 February we notified Driggers we were almost done with the list of questions. After reviewing the questions and some of the allegations made by former co-workers and subordinates of Driggers we sent him this to give him an out.
It’s been four days and we have yet to hear back from Driggers. We suppose he got word of the impending article by Andrew Knapp and decided he should adopt the tactics of his disgraced former boss - deny, deny, deny then go quiet and wait for it all to blow over. Since he failed to notify us either way and the P&C has published their story, and in light of the fact that Driggers reached out to us first, we have decided to run the questions here and let the chips fall where they may.
We think we can safely assume Driggers’ responses to our questions would be much the same as what he had to say in answer to Andrew Knapp’s questions. And that basically would be, “I dint do nuffin!”
Question 1: Is there any truth to the allegation that you and/or BCSO were being investigated by the FBI?
Note: I guess we can call that one confirmed now.
Question 2: You have told several people, who have in turn told us what you said, that you “retired” from law enforcement as the result of a deal with federal investigators. According to your own words, that deal involved you leaving LE, never returning, and any possible indictments would be quashed in exchange. Do you now deny having made that claim?
Question 3: We are told you had a falling out with Lonnie Mizzell after he backed up the allegations by Ronald Holliday that evidence was planted in the home of Kathryn Boles to intimidate her into not testifying about what she saw the night Trooper Johnson was killed. We are in receipt of information that Mizzell resigned after admitting improprieties alleged by Holliday to the FBI and, in turn, drawing your wrath. Is there any truth to that?
Note: Lonnie Mizzell resigned from BCSO in November of 2012 after his falling out with Driggers and returned in December of 2013, several months after Driggers “retired”. Mizzell went right back to being a sergeant and is now assigned to the HEAT team.
Queston 4: We refer you to the details of the following case and invite you to confirm or deny what is alleged.
In 2001 a fellow was arrested in the Summerville area for criminal domestic violence and resisting arrest. A BCSO deputy lodged him at the detention center with a hold so the warrant for resisting arrest could be served the following morning. When the deputy returned, his prisoner had been released. The deputy was informed by jail personnel that you voided the hold placed on the inmate, voided the resisting arrest charge and released the inmate. The deputy was advised by the jail supervisor that the arrestee was related to Sharon Howell and you showed up to release the inmate after he called her, and she, in turn, called you.
It is further alleged that two days later you ordered this deputy to falsify his paperwork and remove all references to the charge of resisting arrest from the incident and booking reports. The deputy allegedly refused to do so and, in fact, filed a supplemental report detailing your demand that he falsify paperwork.
Then you and Chief Deputy Randy Herrod (later run off from BCSO due to a DUI arrest) called the deputy into a meeting and told him he was a piece of shit for not being a team player. You further advised him to watch his back. You also claimed you released the prisoner for medical reasons, even though the deputy had already had him cleared for incarceration by doctors at Trident Hospital, as per BCSO policy.
It is further alleged that you, or someone under your direction, planted a sack of marijuana in the deputy’s unattended patrol vehicle just before a “surprise” vehicle inspection.
Note: That deputy was wise enough to resign and get the hell out of BCSO before they used planted evidence to fire him, ruin his reputation or put him in jail. Are you noticing that pattern of intimidation and planting evidence here, folks? Oh, and for you folks who don’t know your Berkeley County history, Sharon Howell was an administrative assistant in the sheriff’s department and is alleged by some to have conspired with Driggers to keep his narcotics and vice units away from the illegal gambling operation run by her husband (a former BCSO deputy) and her son. You should also note that another former Berkeley County deputy by the name of Danny Dye was also arrested in that operation. Dye, a former narcotics deputy at BCSO, has a history of drug distribution convictions. Danny Dye was arrested again last March in Charlotte on drug distribution charges. We are told he has decided to cooperate with the feds on a number of things, one being corruption in Berkeley County, particularly the sheriff’s office.
Question 5: We are told that during the investigation you and a certain lieutenant were very concerned about going to prison, yet the lieutenant admitted to co-workers he lied for you in front of the grand jury. He further stated in front of those witnesses that he was willing to do five years for those lies because he was loyal to you because you had covered for him in the past. What are your thoughts on this type of “loyalty”?
Note: This lieutenant is still employed at BCSO.
Question 6: It is also alleged you participated in high stakes poker games amongst highly placed Lowcountry political and media figures held at a country club in Goose Creek. Our sources tell us you were usually the dealer. Would you like to confirm or deny that allegation?
Note: Are you starting to see how BCSO dirt went unreported by the media?
Question 7: While you were in charge of the narcotics team at BCSO there were a number of allegations of substantial sums of money missing from search warrant locations and incidents where proper search warrants were never obtained. We can provide you with the names of the deputies involved, if you would like. Most of them have moved on from BCSO, some into federal LE. Those who chose not to participate in these thefts were said to be run out of BCSO. Confirm or deny? Or care to tell your side?
We were also planning to ask Driggers about allegations of drug use in front of witnesses in his office as well as allegations he and a current member of the BCSO command staff regularly placed calls from BCSO offices and phones to a bookie in order to bet hundreds of dollars on ball games. It is also alleged that Driggers violated federal and state seizure laws by having a shadow bidder at auctions and arranging for that bidder to get certain vehicles at extremely low prices. We were going to ask him if the witnesses to all of these activities were all liars.
Let’s talk about BCSO intimidation for a bit. In the P&C article we see planting of evidence and intimidation of a civilian witness who was present when a police officer was killed.
In one of the questions above we see the planting of evidence and the intimidation of one of their own deputies who refused to file false reports when ordered to do so.
Early this year we saw the intimidation by Chief Deputy Rick Ollic of the folks at WCBD News who were trying to investigate some allegations of wrong-doing at BCSO.
We also saw these tactics come into play against the Hanahan police officer who pursued the drunken DeWitt and was later cowed into writing a statement that conflicted with his own official report of the incident. That officer owes a substantial sum of money to a captain at BCSO and the officer’s family court attorney - also a dear friend of Wayne DeWitt’s - served as the go-between in that.
And let’s not forget about the BCSO command staff member who posted comments here at CTL threatening harm to certain citizens of Berkeley County he believed were the proprietors of this website. He has since teamed up with other command staff members and they have started their own site to praise Chief Deputy Rick Ollic who apparently walks on water and sunshine emanates from his ass. Of course, Ollic is the guy who will let these idiots keep their jobs if he is elected.
By the way, in that photo on the front page of the P&C isn’t that Rick Ollic, who doesn’t know anything about anything with regard to the issues presented by Ashley Pennington, standing there at the back of that truck at the 2002 crime scene? Hmmm…..
We suppose we shouldn’t even need to mention the former Sheriff’s use of the narcotics team to run surveillance on the citizens protesting and demanding his removal from office.
BCSO doesn’t care who they intimidate or how they do it. Their activities have been covered up for so long they could have that stuff written into policy and none of the local media would have run with it as long as DeWitt was sheriff. Every time we hear someone brag about BCSO being an accredited agency we have to laugh. If nothing else, it just goes to show how worthless law enforcement accreditation has become. All the accreditation “inspectors” do is show up, read a few incident reports, examine a few policies, check out the cars and the evidence, collect the check, then go to lunch.
We did find a few points in the P&C article rather interesting. First of all, how was Ricky Driggers ever in charge of 250 employees. Were they counting the inmates allegedly being used to work on personal projects? Were they counting the janitors and secretaries or the people who cut the grass? We are pretty sure he was probably including the deputies working on his personal projects on county time.
Driggers’ claim that he had not had anything to do with the narcotics unit for ten years is also a crock. That unit reported directly to him. Are we to believe he abdicated his responsibility and just let them run around unsupervised?
The truly curious and disconcerting thing about all of this talk of corruption, planted evidence and intimidation is the fact that no one in authority is willing to speak up about it. 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson, who was Solicitor Ralph Hoisington’s number two at the time, is running from it like it’s a blowtorch and she’s soaked in gasoline. Strangely, Sapp’s attorney, Ashley Pennington, recently defended Wilson when other defense attorneys filed complaints against her. Now, she is implicated as being part of the cover-up in this case, as is her former boss Hoisington and her former opponent for the officer of 9th Circuit Solicitor, Blair Jennings.
And do you folks remember who helped run the Blair Jennings’ campaign for solicitor and had on-duty deputies standing on corners holding election signs for the campaign? That’s right - Ricky Driggers.
SLED, the FBI, the U.S. Attorney - all have nothing to say. Of course, with most of the high ranking members of BCSO still in power, and with C.W. “Butch” “This agency has done nothing wrong” Henerey in as interim sheriff, no one at BCSO knows anything about anything and everyone is as innocent as a newborn kitten.
Driggers even had the balls to tell Knapp he would “…honor the vow of secrecy around the grand jury investigation by not discussing the allegations.” How convenient is that? You want to be the top law enforcement officer in Berkeley County but won’t deign to discuss the allegations made against you and investigated by a federal grand jury.
Too bad no one in that ethically challenged administration at BCSO ever bothered to honor the oath they took when they were sworn in as deputies.
It is sad to have to say this considering the case involves the death of a law enforcement officer, but what are they all hiding?
We found this statement in Knapp’s article rather interesting - “Meanwhile, because the investigation took so long, the initial purpose of it was put on hold.”
Well, it looks like the tried and true tactics of stall, delay, lie and obfuscate instilled by decades of corruption by the higher ups at BCSO paid off again. We have seen the same tactic used successfully time after time, just like in the cases of the SLED “investigations” into a nurse giving drugs and blowjobs to inmates and a detention officer smuggling in a handcuff key and a knife to her inmate boyfriend.
So, what exactly are they hiding here? Are they hiding the possibility that Trooper Johnson was killed by a police bullet? As we previously pointed out, we don’t think that would have mattered to a jury since Jesse Sapp is the one who initiated the exchange of gunfire. Are they trying to hide the fact there was apparently a 14 second interval between a volley of shots and a final shot as Sapp lay wounded on the pavement? We don’t even think that would have been an issue with a jury. Hell, if you shoot at us we will put you down. If you so much as twitch as we approach, you are likely to catch another round.
Was the state so desperate to get a death sentence in this case they felt the need to hide certain facts and intimidate the one witness at the scene who wasn’t a law enforcement officer? Let’s not forget about the BCSO deputy who suborned perjury in another death penalty case and cost Scarlett Wilson a death sentence in 2009.
We are told the 9th Circuit Solicitor’s Office subjected Kathryn Boles to three (3) separate polygraph examinations under threat of being charged with obstruction. Those threats are said to have come from Scarlett Wilson who would have liked nothing more than to put that inconvenient witness in jail. Of course, we are left wondering how many of the BCSO deputies involved in this alleged cover-up were polygraphed? We are willing to bet none ever were.
The informant used by BCSO to plant evidence at the Boles’ home also passed a polygraph.
So, according to Knapp’s article and a number of witnesses we have heard from, here is how the set-up went down. A fellow by the name of Ronald Holliday was working as an informant for BCSO narcotics, which was ultimately supervised by Ricky Driggers. Based on the information above, we know Driggers likes to handle difficult people in his own way, the BCSO way, by planting evidence and/or intimidating them. Holliday told investigators he was instructed to buy precursor chemicals for production of meth by Sgt. Lonnie Mizzell of BCSO, who had allegedly been instructed by Driggers to deal with the inconvenient witness. He was instructed to stash those chemicals in Boles’ home while he visited her on a pretense. After doing so, he called in Mizzell who swooped in with a posse of deputies who searched the home and found nothing. In fact, they had to ask Holliday where he hid the stuff before they could “find” it and arrest Boles.
In spite of admitting to “irregularities” and “not following procedure” in his statement to the FBI, Mizzell was free to return to law enforcement. In telling some of the truth to the feds Mizzell pissed of his boy Driggers and had to leave BCSO until Driggers was finally run off into “retirement”. Mizzell returned a short time later and picked up where he left off.
So, amongst the current crop of candidates for sheriff those who worked for BCSO during this period when all the corruption was taking place are Ricky Driggers, Rick Ollic, Jerry Merrithew and Will Rogers. Rogers actually drove his county issued vehicle to register to vote and even let citizens take pictures of him standing by it while proudly holding his check for his registration fees. We are told he has also been using his county car to deliver his yard signs. Nothing like starting off a campaign for sheriff with a bright shiny ethics violation, huh? Merrithew was interviewed by the FBI rather recently with regard to the activities of Ricky Driggers and his merry band of liars and thugs with badges.
Here is the actual situation with that race for sheriff. The powers that be are throwing up a ton of candidates with ties to DeWitt and the dirt at BCSO because they need that sort of activity to continue. Schemes and plans that have taken years to get up and running are now in danger of being exposed. This multitude of candidates with ties to BCSO is just some folks in Berkeley County firing a shotgun. Send a bunch of pellets downrange and hope one of them hits and sticks, even if the pellets aren’t that bright or honest. If one of the dull pellets with questionable character manages to get elected, the schemes and plans can continue uninterrupted.
Here is what you should be aware of as you hear all of those candidates with ties to DeWitt and BCSO tell you how innocent they are and how they plan to clean up the corruption. Every one of those folks is acutely aware of what has been and still is going on there. The fact that they remained quiet should tell you all you need to know.
We learned very early on in the CTL saga that nothing in a law enforcement agency happens in a void and there are very few actual secrets. Trust us on this. If we were into that sort of reporting we could run through just about every department in the Lowcountry and tell you which members of the command staff are banging which subordinates, who got special dispensations based on who they know or who they are screwing in order to be promoted while more qualified personnel are consistently passed over, which politically connected officers have their run-ins with the law or failed drug tests or indiscretions with multiple women covered up, which “officers” are serving only due to political favors and are not actually certified and can’t even carry guns, and so on and so forth. We have quite the information database here at CTL.
In light of all this new information about the corruption at all levels of BCSO, we can’t see why the voters of Berkeley County would elect any of those folks as sheriff. But if they do, there is an upside. CTL will continue to have plenty to write about when it comes to BCSO.
Oh, by the way, we have been told that Will Rogers and Rick Ollic have to resign their current positions at BCSO by March 21st in order to continue their campaigns for sheriff. So, there’s that. We are not sure whether the other LEO’s in Berkeley County will have to do the same, but we have heard a rumor that Moncks Corner has a policy requiring that. We haven’t found it yet. If there is such a policy, Chad Caldwell will also have to resign his position as Chief.
In a side note, we were notified early last year that Jesse Sapp and his mother, known to her friends as “Crazy Cathy” had a suicide pact. We were able to corroborate this information with two former SCDC detention officers who were aware of it. Sapp’s mother carried out her end of the pact last year. Jesse Sapp decided to keep fighting his date with death. Had he not decided to do that, none of this information about the irregularities and the alleged cover-up would have come out in the press.