Judge denies bond reduction for chase suspect

McManus appears in bond court on January 31. (WCIV)

NORTH CHARLESTON, (WCIV) -- Prosecutors said they believe Timothy McManus has been initiating contact with law enforcement. He has had eight arrests in just over a year.

McManus' most recent arrest was on January 31 after a high speed chase though Mount Pleasant that ended just off Highway 17 in the Francis Marion National Forest.

The recent arrest has been the subject of much attention after Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon admitted to slapping the man while he was handcuffed in the back of a deputy's vehicle.

Tuesday McManus' attorney attempted to get his $100,000 bond reduced -- reduced by $80,000.

Associate Chief Magistrate Judge James B. Gosnell Jr. denied the request, and instead he consolidated two bonds. Gosnell said if McManus makes bond, he is on house arrest and must undergo psychiatric evaluation.

McManus' attorney said if his client didn't previously have psychological issues, he may have them now.

"Obviously he (McManus) may have some physiological issues due to what happened to him at the hand of the sheriff," said defense attorney W. David Johnson.

Johnson said legal action against the sheriff's office is being considered.

"Did my client do something wrong? Yes, he did," Johnson said. "But there's a bigger thing involved -- did the sheriff do something wrong?"

During Tuesday's hearing, a lieutenant with the Charleston County Sheriff's Office defended the agency's use of force. Officers and the sheriff have been publicly criticized since the sheriff admitted to slapping the man and since video released showed officers striking McManus and a canine engaging him.

Lt. Ransom Williams said the canine didn't attack McManus. He said the dog was tactfully placed upon the suspect. He also said McManus had a metal chisel in the car and described it as a "weapon of opportunity." Williams said McManus also had a phone in the car officers thought could have been a weapon.

"When Mr. McManus decided to reach into that vehicle, he upped the ante and made this a possible deadly force situation," Lt. Williams said. "You never know if it's a cell phone. It could have just as easily been a gun. We can't make those decisions in one second."

Williams said the dog's actions were directed by its handler.

"The dog is a pain compliance tool," he said. "The dog was tactfully placed exactly where the deputy wanted him to bite. It causes pain to the body and makes you listen to the commands you are being told. ...Same as a taser, same as a baton."

Williams said thoughts of a recent deputy shooting in Aiken raced through his mind as he approached McManus' vehicle and the suspect failed to comply with his orders. He said McManus spit on deputies.

"I advised him that he was under arrest and to get on the ground," Lt. Williams said. "And repeatedly told him to get on the ground as I made my ...the approach."

McManus was charged with failure to stop for a blue light and resisting arrest in the January 31 chase that made headlines for several days to follow.