Lawsuit claims off-duty SCHP master trooper beat, assaulted man and Myrtle Beach police did nothing

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HORRY CO, SC (WBTW) — A former SC Highway Patrol master trooper assigned to Horry County is being sued by a man who says he was beaten, choked, and assaulted while other officers did nothing.

Miguel Angel De Leon Aguilar is also suing the Myrtle Beach Police Department, Myrtle Beach, the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, and the South Carolina Highway Patrol for doing nothing to further investigate the incident.

David Andrew Eck, the former master trooper who had been with SCHP for 20 years, was charged with assault and battery – 3rd degree in connection with the incident. He was off-duty when the incident happened, according to SLED.

Eck was terminated from employment with the SC Highway Patrol effective February 12, 2020, for improper conduct unbecoming a state employee and arrest or indictment for alleged violation of federal or state law, according to the SCHP.

In the lawsuit, filed Tuesday, De Leon Aguilar claims Eck “did forcibly attack, choke, assault, and batter Plaintiff Miguel Angel De Leon Aguilar while taking him into law enforcement custody.” The suit also says Eck pointed a firearm in a threatening manner at another person and a minor who approached the two to ascertain what was happening.

“Upon their arrival at the scene as yet unidentified employees of Defendants MB and MBPD did continue the assault and battery of Plaintiff Miguel Angel De Leon Aguilar,” the suit continues. “This “looking the other way” by the “powers that be” within the SCDPS, SCHP, MB and MBPD fostered an environment where improper and unconstitutional conduct was condoned, tolerated and/or emboldened…”

According to records with the SC Criminal Justice Academy, Eck worked for the SC Highway Patrol from 2000 until February 12, 2020. Documents say he was given a termination letter by highway patrol on April 7, 2020, with an effective date retroactive to his suspension date of Feb. 12, 2020. His law enforcement certification is temporarily suspended until the criminal charge is resolved.

Documents in the law enforcement records detail witnesses saying they saw Eck “beating the immortal crap” out of a man, punching the man in the head at least twice, pointing a gun at others while telling them to stay away, and “rubbing”/”smashing” the man’s face into the concrete.

De Leon Aguilar is asking for actual and punitive damages in a trial by jury. 

The city of Myrtle Beach says it has no comment on the lawsuit. The SC Department of Public Safety says it has not yet been served with a lawsuit in this matter. 

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