Solicitor suggests charges against Sheriff Al Cannon for slapping suspect

Sheriff Cannon (WCIV)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Solicitor Kevin Brackett has recommended that charges be brought against Sheriff Al Cannon, who admitted to slapping a suspect who was handcuffed in the back of a CCSO cruiser.

Cannon described 31-year-old Timothy McManus as "crazy" after McManus led deputies on a dangerous, high speed chase in which the sheriff was forced to pull to his gun and fire several times.

Before slapping Timothy McManus, Sheriff Cannon said he asked him "What the BLEEP is wrong with you?" and said "You could have killed a lot of people."

The sheriff said McManus was handcuffed in the back of the car and when he responded "Ain't nothing wrong with me, man," he slapped him.

McManus was taken into custody after the gunfire in the Francis Marion National Forest. Officials say when McManus lost control of his truck, he got out and tried to reach under his front seat. Officers tackled him and as he continued to struggle until K-9 Ivar "apprehended" his upper right arm.

In a letter, Solicitor Brackett says:

" is my opinion that the evidence presented would only support a charge of assault and battery, 3rd degree."

He also states:

"Assault and battery, 3rd degree is a summary court charge carrying a penalty of 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500. It is also a charge that is eligible for disposition under the pretrial intervention program. For individuals with little or no prior record I would typically give them the option of either pleading guilty and paying a fine or enrolling and completing pre-trial intervention.

Under the circumstances of this case I will not treat Sheriff Cannon any better or worse than I would anyone else in his situation. If he does not request a trial he may elect between those options."

Brackett traveled to Charleston early this summer after being asked by SLED to investigate the incident surrounding Sheriff Al Cannon and the arrest of Timothy McManus. He met with McManus and reviewed all of the dash cam videos but did not interview Cannon.It is up to SLED to file any charges, but Brackett says SLED generally follows through with the recommendation of the solicitor assigned to investigate.

In a press conference Tuesday, Sheriff Al Cannon said he is looking at all the options.

"That act set in motion a number of events and problems for a whole host of people," said Cannon. "I accept full responsibility for having committed that act and apologize to the public. I apologize to the people in the sheriff's office and in law enforcement in this community because I am expected to set an example and I failed to do so."Cannon also apologized to McManus saying that even though what McManus did was dangerous, it was not the sheriff's place to act the way he did.

Cannon also said he does not intend to resign. He admits responsibility, that he is not perfect and says he does not plan to fight the charges.

As for Timothy McManus, he was released from jail Tuesday on bond.