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CrimeGreenville deputy in destroyed evidence case won't face further probes

19:41  11 july  2019
19:41  11 july  2019 Source:   greenvilleonline.com

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Greenville deputy , caught on video destroying evidence , will not face further investigation. Sheriff Johnny Mack Brown also previously told The Greenville News that the Sheriff's Office did not plan to review all of Arflin's prior cases but rather would see if any other complaints in his personnel file

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Greenville deputy in destroyed evidence case won't face further probes© Provided/Greenville County Sheriff's Office Wes Arflin

Law enforcement has no plans to review any of Deputy Wes Arflin's prior arrests in light of him being caught on surveillance video destroying evidence in a recent drug trafficking case.

A community activist says the county's lack of attention toward the case shows a disregard for the proper use of the criminal justice system.

Arflin was suspended for eight hours, demoted and reassigned to another unit in light of him being found to have tossed evidence into a trash can.

The then-master deputy made a drug arrest in June 2018 but authorities later found that evidence was missing while preparing for trial. The discovery led to the Sheriff's Office finding Arflin on surveillance video putting into a trash can a wallet that may have contained the identity card of a person other than the man arrested.

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The case against Mr Allan was dropped when it emerged evidence on a computer disc - which police had looked through - showed messages from the "And it may have been some time ago and it may well be that evidence is destroyed . Their lives are now destroyed ," he told the Today programme.

Deputies tased and arrested Forney. He said he suffered physical injuries including broken ribs and black eyes, and he says he now has to Forney faced five charges that are now pending. He says he would like to see justice in his case , and Wilson would like the Sheriff's Office to take another look.

Larry Crane, the defense attorney for Danny Charles Mullinax, said that such evidence was exculpatory and could have showed that the drugs and paraphernalia found near Mullinax during a search did not belong to him.

An internal investigation was conducted in April and the allegation was sustained on April 29, documents show.

Arflin did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

Still, authorities said they do not plan to review Arflin's other arrests to see if there are other instances of evidence tampering.

"We don’t have any reason to believe there are any other cases that have been affected by any sort of policy violations pertaining to evidence," said Lt. Ryan Flood, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff Johnny Mack Brown also previously told The Greenville News that the Sheriff's Office did not plan to review all of Arflin's prior cases but rather would see if any other complaints in his personnel file revealed a pattern.

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Arflin's personnel file, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, revealed one additional misconduct complaint against him. It involved him pushing a handcuffed inmate while in the Greenville County jail. The man in handcuffs fell on the floor and had to receive treatment for an injury, the documents show. That complaint was also sustained.

The Greenville News exclusively reported on the destroyed evidence case based on a tip and found court records that documented the Sheriff's Office's and Solicitor's Office's knowledge that evidence had been destroyed. Mullinax's case was dismissed as a result.

Following the story, community activist Bruce Wilson sent a letter to the Solicitor's Office and Public Defender's office calling on authorities to review all of Arflin's arrests to determine if he tampered with evidence in other cases.

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"For those that say it doesn’t happen in Greenville, why wasn’t he fired? If he will destroy evidence he will also plant evidence; and every case with his name on it should be re-open," Wilson told The Greenville News.

Wilson said Arflin's actions of destroying evidence shows that he may have had a pattern of doing this but simply did not get caught on other occasions. In his letter, Wilson called for all of Arflin's calls for service and cases to be reopened.

"This adversely puts the burden of truth, honesty and integrity on the Greenville County Sheriff's, Solicitor's and Public Defenders Office," the letter reads. "This demands an immediate act of attention from all internal county officers to ensure proper justice and proper use of the criminal justice system."

Solicitor Walt Wilkins responded to questions via email and explained why Mullinax's case was dismissed.

"We review every case independently to ensure compliance with the Rules of Discovery.  As in State v Mullinax, we provided video obtained from property and evidence security cameras to defense counsel," Wilkins said. "Due to prosecutorial issues presented as a result of the disposal of a piece of evidence, we dismissed the charges relating to this incident. Mr. Mullinax pled guilty to other drug charges and received a 8 1/2 year sentence."

Wilson said he plans to keep pressure on the county agencies and plans to track down Arflin's prior cases by reaching out to past defendants.

"I'm going to reach out to anyone who has had a case involving him and I'm going to see if we can file a post conviction relief if they've been convicted," Wilson said.

Daniel J. Gross covers public safety and breaking news for The Greenville News. Reach him at dgross@greenvillenews.com or on Twitter @danieljgross.

This article originally appeared on The Greenville News: Greenville deputy in destroyed evidence case won't face further probes

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