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Local News

State Misconduct Probe Sidelines South Carolina Police Chief

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GREENVILLE, S.C. — The police chief of a South Carolina city has been placed on administrative leave as officials review a seven-month state investigation that found he protected a wealthy donor from criminal charges.

Greenville police Chief Ken Miller and interim Capt. Jason Rampey are now both on leave while the city manager reviews the investigation, The Greenville News reports. City Manager John McDonough and City spokesperson Leslie Flether declined to provide further detail.

“I can't share a whole lot other than it’s a personnel matter that is under review. We need to have all the facts," McDonough said.

The state investigation found that a “wealthy businessman” who donated to the city and police foundation was charged with public intoxication in 2018, according to a letter obtained by the newspaper from 1st Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe to the State Law Enforcement Division. The foundation is a nonprofit that raises money for the police department.

Miller learned about the charge and notified Rampey, and the two worked have the charge dismissed, it said. The charge was later expunged. Their actions fell in line with the city's Good Behavior Dismissal policy, according to the letter. The policy allows charges to be dropped and expunged if a defendant has no criminal record.

The state also investigated other allegations of misconduct against Miller, the letter says. One such allegation was that Miller mishandled city funds by granting a marketing contract to an advertising agency belonging to a Greenville Police Foundation board member. Another alleged that Miller had a personal relationship with a board member that led to a malicious prosecution of that member's husband.

The probe found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing in any of the cases, but called the chief's actions “very troubling.” There also is evidence that the chief and captain may have been dishonest with investigators during the probe, according to the letter, which says such behavior increased the time and costs associated with the investigation. Their statements to investigators were contradictory to those made by other witnesses, one of whom said Rampey reported the charge against the donor was being dismissed for “political reasons.”

Rampey and Miller didn't immediately respond to the newspaper's request for comment.