Ex-deputy accused of excessive force during arrest faces assault charges, SC cops say

Hayley Fowler
·2 min read

A former sheriff’s deputy in South Carolina is facing assault charges after state investigators said he beat and unlawfully arrested someone while on duty last year.

Ryan Gibson, 29, was arrested Friday and charged with assault and battery in the third degree, misconduct and misconduct while in office, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division said in a news release.

He was booked at the Greenville County Detention Center, jail records show.

According to warrants filed for his arrest, Gibson is accused of “striking the victim with his legs and hands” during an arrest on July 25. The warrants also say he “neglected duties he was sworn to uphold when he affected an unlawful arrest while serving in his capacity as a public official.”

The circumstances surrounding the July arrest were not disclosed, but SLED said the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office asked them to investigate.

In a news release emailed to McClatchy News, the sheriff’s office said they began investigating Gibson when a local activist, Traci Fant, reached out on behalf of someone else to ask how to file a complaint against a deputy. The Office of Professional Standards reportedly informed her of how to do so.

“Upon receiving that complaint we met with the individual involved and initiated a thorough and timely investigation, which resulted in sustaining the gentleman’s complaint against Mr. Gibson,” the release says.

The internal investigation was launched on July 30 and Gibson was fired Aug. 5, according to the sheriff’s office.

The grounds for termination were conduct unbecoming and violations of department rules for improper criminal process and use of excessive force.

“While the incident was extremely unfortunate, I am very grateful for Ms. Fant and her activism, by bringing this incident to our attention and communicating the proper methods for filing a grievance against a GCSO employee,” Sheriff Hobart Lewis said in the release.