GREENVILLE COUNTY, SC (FOX Carolina) Benny Jones is walking us through the moments he claims excessive force was used and he was wrongfully arrested by a Greenville County deputy.
Jones said just outside his home, he went from being a bystander to a traffic stop to the person inside the squad car. He calls the incident unwarranted and traumatic.
"I've never felt so helpless in my life."
The traffic stop began outside of his home, according to Jones, back on July 25th. Jones said they pulled over a man he recognized.
"I went to high school with him and he lives in my community," he said. "I asked him "what’s going on," and the guy said he pulled him over for his tail light."
Jones said he walked over to the street to take a peak at the taillight and the deputies told him to get away from the car.
"I immediately put my hands on my head and walked back towards my car over here," Jones said pointing to his driveway.
Jones said moments later the driver took off running and one of the deputies' attention went to Benny instead. Seconds later, he says he was in handcuffs being led to the car. Jones said he asked why he was being arrested and was met with no answer.
"He never answered me and started beating me in my chest and my stomach and kneeing me, kicking me and punching me," Jones said.
"To know that someone could get brutalized just for observing a situation, he didn't have a camera, he wasn't recording anything, he was just literally watching, no that's not right," Traci Fant said.
Freedom Fighter and community activist Traci Fant paired up with Benny, hoping for accountability. Together they filed a complaint at the Greenville County Sheriff's Office. Sheriff Hobart Lewis said an internal investigation began on July 30th, and the deputy is facing several policy violations.
Sheriff Lewis added the deputy has since been terminated.
"I was horrified and screaming for help and there's no one to come and help you."
The case remains under investigation and SLED is involved as well.
"All police are not bad, but we do have some bad apples that spoil the bunch. If citizens start reporting what happens to us then I think it will make an impact," Jones said.
Sheriff Hobart Lewis said accountability and any type of allegations he takes extremely seriously.
He provided a statement found below:
The Office of Professional Standards began an internal investigation on July 30th after a citizen came to the law enforcement center to file a formal complaint. The complaint involved an arrest of an individual that took place on July 25th.
This is an ongoing personnel issue, so no further comment can be made at this time.
Sheriff Lewis demands that employees of this agency be beyond reproach and no action(s) should jeopardize the trust that the citizens have in them. Sheriff Lewis takes allegations of misconduct by his employees seriously and is committed to thorough and complete investigations. Sheriff Lewis promises the citizens swift action when an employee violates the trust and oath that they all swear to uphold. When an allegation involves possible criminal activity, SLED will be notified.