Lyman Officer Charged With Destroying Evidence Connected To PCB -

Lyman Officer Charged With Destroying Evidence Connected To PCB Investigation

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Lyman officer charged with destroying evidence connected to PCB investigation. Lyman officer charged with destroying evidence connected to PCB investigation.
Lyman, S.C. - New evidence shows a Lyman Police officer charged with destroying criminal evidence may have tampered with evidence in an illegal dumping case that left several Upstate wastewater systems with dangerous PCB contamination.

State investigators charged Lyman Police Sergeant Michael Hames with obstructing justice and misconduct in office.  Warrants show Hames accused of intentionally destroying criminal evidence.

Hames was the responding officer June 18th of 2013 when his incident report shows a Duncan officer spotted “a truck with American Waste on the side” and “observed waste being pumped from it” into a grease trap behind a now abandoned restaurant.

The South Carolina Department of Environmental Control later ordered American Waste to cease operations after a cancer-causing PCB was detected in both the grease trap and on trucks and tubes at the American Waste facility.

Hames responded in a police vehicle equipped with a dashboard camera which was rolling when he responded so that it would gather evidence of a potential crime.

“In this case no evidence that was logged into our main evidence room was altered or tampered with. This would have been evidence that was in the officers evidence locker," said Lyman police Lieutenant T.J. Hayes, the department’s evidence supervisor.

All evidence gathered by officers is put in their individual lockers until Hayes is able to take possession of it.  Dash cam video is the sole exception.

“The only thing that stays in the evidence locker is the in car video tapes," Hayes said.

That means the only officer with access to that dash cam video from the night American Waste is accused of illegal dumping was Sgt. Hames.

On August 9th, American Waste owner Timothy Howard appeared in court for a “show cause” hearing.  Howard is now charged with perjury and obstruction of justice after state investigators say he lied under oath at that hearing.

Days later, state investigators accuse Hames of “Knowingly, willfully and dishonestly” destroying criminal evidence.

Lyman police couldn’t comment on the specifics of the Hames case, but said they fear the charges will damage their reputation.

“Anytime an officer is accused of wrongdoing the trust from the community goes down," said Lt. Hayes, “we just look to restore the trust of the community."

SLED records show Hames has criminal convictions in his past. 

In 1986, Hames was convicted of Grand Larceny, Arson, and Burglary.  He was sentenced to probation under the state’s Youthful Offenders Act and was later pardoned in 1992.

Hames is currently on administrative leave while the state investigation continues.
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