READ: Full statement from Pickens Co. sheriff on deputy's firing - FOX Carolina 21

READ: Full statement from Pickens Co. sheriff on deputy's firing

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 Below is the full statement issued by Pickens County Sheriff's Office and Sheriff Rick Clark into the justified and unjustified tasings of two men last week.

On Friday, February 20, 2015, Deputies from the Pickens County Sheriff's Office were asked to assist the Pickens Police Department in the service of three outstanding Arrest Warrants for Travis Antonio Mansell (25yoa). The Bench Warrants stemmed from previous criminal charges lodged against Mansell by the Pickens City Police Department for the charges of Possession of Stolen Goods, Resisting Arrest and Driving under Suspension.

Three Deputies accompanied by a Pickens City Officer responded to 805 W. Lee St in Pickens at which time Mr. Mansell was observed through a window hiding inside the residence as Deputies attempted to get someone to answer the door.

A female who identified herself as Lanie A. Davis, girlfriend of Travis Mansell, answered the door and informed the Deputies that Mansell was not inside the residence.

Having the Arrest Warrants in hand with Deputies seeing the subject inside the residence, the decision was made to enter through the open door and engage in conversation with Mr. Mansell. Travis Mansell immediately informed the Deputies that he would not go back to jail and that the Deputies would “have to kill him”.

Additional units were requested as Deputies attempted to verbally persuade Travis to surrender without further incident. Several minutes passed as the Deputies pleaded with Mansell to peacefully surrender.

Parker Mansell, Jr (65yoa), who is Travis' father, was also inside the residence and was seated in a motorized wheelchair due to health complications. Parker Mansell proceeded to position

himself while seated in the wheelchair between the Deputies and Travis with the intent to block or impede the Deputies from gaining access to his son.

After 15 to 20 minutes of dialog with the wanted subject, the Deputies utilized a less-lethal Taser device to momentarily incapacitate Travis Mansell so that the Deputies could approach and restrain him without the use of additional force.

Travis Mansell was subsequently arrested and restrained with no additional use of force and no injuries were sustained to Mansell or the Deputies.

Following the deployment of the Taser unit to Travis Mansell, seconds later a back-up Deputy chose to use his Taser on the father seated in the wheelchair. The deputy advised that he felt the need to deploy the Taser on the father to prevent the father from injuring the Deputies that were physically arresting the son.

On the next morning, Sheriff Rick Clark initiated an internal investigation and review into the deployment of the two Tasers. The findings of that internal investigation are as follows:

After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the incident taking into account the number of officers on the scene, the overt resistance from the son, verbal threats to force officers to take his life coupled with the extensive efforts by the Deputies to diffuse the encounter without the use of force, the investigation found the use of the Taser to Travis Mansell was in fact appropriate and reasonable given the circumstances.

The second deployment of the Taser against Parker Mansell, Jr. was determined to be inappropriate and not within the scope of Pickens County policy.

Sheriff Clark stated the following:

“Parker Mansell did not follow the directions of the Deputies and intentionally interfered with the lawful arrest of his son – Travis. He intentionally maneuvered himself via his chair into a position to impede and block the Deputies from being able to take Travis into custody. The Deputies worked through the situation and successfully found a way to restrain Travis through the deployment of a less-lethal device which is the application that it is designed for. He was not injured and the Deputies also were not injured. I commend our officers for their patience and restraint in how they attempted to negotiate with Travis.

The deployment of the Taser on the father – Parker Mansell, Jr was not within the scope of our policy when all factors are considered. The father was confined to a wheelchair and was limited in mobility. Though he was verbally upset, he posed no significant danger to the Deputies as he was unarmed and made no overt threats. The decision to use the Taser on Mr. Mansell, Jr was inappropriate and not necessary to protect any party nor was it necessary to the complete the arrest of Travis.”

On Wednesday, February 25, 2015, the Sheriff terminated Deputy Steven A. Ticknor for the inappropriate use of a Taser against Parker Mansell, Jr.

Sheriff Clark further stated…

“It is unfortunate and disappointing in that one of our Deputies chose to use a level of force that was not necessary and found to be unreasonable. It is my hope that our community will see that we conduct our internal reviews seriously and with the upmost scrutiny for detail and policy compliance. The processes that we have in place have proven through this incident that we objectively review all Use of Force incidents whether it is the result of a citizen complaint or not. Upon learning of this situation, I mandated that a review of this incident be conducted before any complaint was ever filed by any of the parties involved.

We continue to work closely with our community leaders and it is through their efforts that a bridge has been built between law enforcement and our neighborhoods so that we can exchange ideas and concerns. We are truly blessed in Pickens County to have the leaders that come forward to represent our citizens that in previous years were never heard.

The fact of the matter is that we will continue to see in our society and in our local communities, incidents where emotions and tempers will force law enforcement officers to make rapid decisions concerning the use of force. When we are in the right we must not hesitate to protect the innocent by using whatever force a suspect forces us to use when an arrest is warranted such as in the case of Travis Mansell.

On the other hand, when law enforcement officers make a less than reasonable decision concerning the use of force, they must be held accountable as in the case of Parker Mansell, Jr.

It was a poor decision that ultimately cost the Deputy his job.”

The internal review of the two uses of force has been concluded with one incident determined to be justified and the second incident found to be unjustified; however the investigation into the interference by Parker Mansell, Jr and Lanie Davis into the arrest of Travis is still ongoing at the time of this release.

Travis Mansell was placed into the Pickens County Detention Center on the night of his arrest for the following charges: three bench warrants, possession of cocaine second offense and resisting arrest.

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