People around Florence have been talking about the situation that took place on Wednesday with Sheriff Kenney Boone, and what this means to the community and his campaign for 2020.
“Disappointed. Everybody felt the same way. We need someone here that’s going to be here for the community, not just for a particular community but for everybody around here. We need a good sheriff for everybody,” said Timmonsville resident Zack Morris.
Grand jury indictments allege Sheriff Boone used both county and federal funds given to the FCSO for his own personal use.
Shortly after, Governor Henry Mcmaster suspended Boone from office and appointed former Florence County Sheriff William ‘Billy’ Barnes to replace Boone until the matter is resolved.
Many people in the area, who support Boone, think differently.
“I say the man is innocent until proven guilty,” said resident Mark McKnight. “I’ve known him for a long time and everything. I’ve been put in that situation before, so you’re innocent until proven guilty, that’s the way I look at it,” said resident Mark McKnight.
Thursday afternoon, News13 obtained Boone’s training and law enforcement employment history and learned he’s had a good record since joining law enforcement. Boone’s most recent training was just last month.
“I’m just really interested to see how the evidence comes out and how things get portrayed. He’s been suspended, he hasn’t been fired so he’s got a chance to defend himself. I think if you do something wrong, you should be able to get the consequences no matter who you are,” said Florence resident, Tony Elliot.
Following his indictment, Boone was removed from the South Carolina Sheriff’s Association. The organization released a statement:
“Sheriff Boone’s indictment is truly heartbreaking for all parties involved, including the Members of the SC Sheriffs’ Association. Nevertheless, criminal allegations against elected officials, especially Sheriffs, are serious and cannot be ignored. Like all other citizens, however, Sheriff Boone is innocent until proven guilty and will have the opportunity to plead his case before the court.
As a result of Sheriff Boone’s suspension from Office, he is no longer a member of the SC Sheriffs’ Association. While this is a sad reality, we are encouraged by the return of Sheriff Billy Barnes, both for the citizens of Florence County and the men and women of the Florence County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Barnes honorably served the citizens of Florence County during his twenty-year tenure as Sheriff. We are confident in Sheriff Barnes’ ability to provide stability in the Florence County Sheriff’s Office during this time of turbulence. Furthermore, we believe Sheriff Barnes has the integrity, ethics, and experience to restore the citizens’ faith and trust in the Office of Sheriff.”
Jarrod M. Bruder
South Carolina Senator Hugh Leatherman, representing Florence also released a statement on Facebook:
Like everyone, I am surprised and disappointed with the news this morning about Sheriff Boone. He like all accused in our judicial system should be provided due process and a presumption of innocence. Having said that, today’s event is a reminder that elected officials should be held to a higher standard, especially those charged with enforcing the laws that are the backbone of our democracy.
I hope that everyone will join me in supporting the members of the Florence County Sheriff’s Office and acting Sheriff Billy Barnes as they continue to protect and serve.