MARLBORO COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Suspended Marlboro County Sheriff Charles Lemon is scheduled to stand trial in March in connection with a 2020 Tasing incident at the county jail in May 2020, according to a spokesman for South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson.
Lemon and former Deputy David Andrew Cook were charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, along with misconduct in office after officials said a Taser was used to unlawfully subdue inmate Jarrel Lee Johnson at the Marlboro County Detention Center. Gov. Henry McMaster suspended Lemon in December 2021.
Lemon’s trial is scheduled to begin with jury selection on March 18. Cook resigned from the department in July 2021. He had been there since 2018.
Earlier this year, in August, about three weeks before Lemon was scheduled to go on trial, the AG’s office asked for a trial delay until January but would not comment on the reason for the request.
At the time of the Tasing, Johnson was under arrest after his father, Ronnie, was beaten with a baseball bat. Deputies said Jarrel beat his father with the bat as his father and mother were headed to church that Sunday morning in May 2020.
According to the AG’s office, Lemon ordered Cook to deploy his Taser, and then “unlawfully continued to activate the Taser at least two times after the initial deployment to subdue the suspect while inside the jail.”
A video of the incident, provided by Nexstar affiliate WJZY in Charlotte, begins with Johnson standing next to several law enforcement officials in the jail, including Lemon.
The sheriff then yells several things, including about how he knows Johnson’s whole family. He goes on to yell, “give him what he asked for.”
Johnson’s handcuffs are then removed by jail officials and that’s when Johnson turns around and appears to lunge towards the sheriff. After that, more yelling is heard and the sheriff continues to demand that the Taser be deployed to Johnson more. The video lasts a little more than two minutes.
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Dennis Bright is a Digital Producer at News13. He joined the team in May 2021. Dennis is a West Virginia native and a graduate of Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. Follow Dennis on, Facebook, X, formerly Twitter, and read more of his work here.