HONEA PATH, S.C. – Two Honea Path police officers have been fired after a traffic stop turned violent late last year, sending one man to the hospital.
Robert Joshua Shaw and John Bell were terminated on Friday, according to town officials.
Investigators say the traffic stop happened on November 14 when the officers pulled over Brian “BJ” Hatcher, 34, on US-76.
Officials say Hatcher, age 34, led them on a chase and when he stopped, he came at them with an object that appeared to be a knife. A fight then broke out, according to authorities.
State investigators said the officers claimed Hatcher was “originally compliant,” but then came at them with a knife and they did what they felt needed to be done to restrain the man.
Hatcher was charged with failure to stop for a blue light, driving under suspension and resisting arrest. Several items, including a knife, were put into evidence.
Hatcher’s family said he had to undergo facial reconstructive surgery for injuries he suffered during the arrest and said officers went too far.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division was called to investigate after the allegations of excessive force and the officers were placed on administrative leave.
A release from the police department Wednesday states:
“Based on information provided by SLED and after meeting with Solicitor’s Office the HPPD has no option, other than, to terminate these two officers.”
SLED continues to investigate the incident.