Officer who shot former mayor had been fired by other agencies, accused of using excessive force

Officer Randall Price

By Natalie Caula & Brian Troutman

COTTAGEVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) -- The police chief of the small town where an officer shot the town's former mayor told members of the media on Tuesday that he has no idea what sparked the confrontation.

Cottageville Police Chief John Craddock said officer Randall Price shot 40-year-old Bert Reeves at close range with a police issued Glock 40.

"It's crazy," Craddock said. "This is a small community. I would never dream of something like this happening in our town of Cottageville."

According to Craddock, the incident makes the first in several years in which an officer has fired a weapon.

Craddock said he does not know if Reeves was armed. He said Price had some injuries as a result of the incident, but said he didn't know specifics.

Chief Craddock did confirm that Reeves had complained about Price after the officer arrested one of Reeves' employees in March. He said it was a verbal complaint that was never put into writing.

"I don't know if that had anything to do with the incident," Craddock said. "...He (Reeves) didn't think the arrest was appropriate, so he came into our office and made a complaint about it.

"Naturally he's (Price) a little shaken up, distraught about the incident that's taken place," Craddock said.

Price, who was described by Craddock as an officer who 'goes the extra mile,' has been placed on administrative leave.

"I became the chief in January of this year, and I've had no problems with him and his job performance," Craddock said. "He's been an outstanding officer for the town.

Price's records from the state's Criminal Justice Academy reveals his character had been in question with several law enforcement agencies with which he had been previously employed. He's worked for seven agencies in the last 11 years.

Price's employment with the Blackville Police Department was terminated in August of 2006 after the town's mayor said Price repeatedly used excessive force when dealing with incidents. His employment was later terminated with the Allendale Police Department in December of 2006.

In a letter from that mayor in 2006, he stated "I feel like your work habits and attitude are very undesirable."

According to a misconduct report form, Price displayed dangerous and/or unsafe practices with firearms and/or other police equipment; misrepresented employment-related information and was dishonest with superiors in Allendale.

Price had also been terminated from employment with the Wagener Police Department, Aiken County Sheriff's Office and the McCormick County Sheriff's Office.

In 1988, records show Price was charged with pointing a firearm. That charge was dismissed and he was not convicted.