SPARTANBURG CO., S.C. (WSPA) – Six Upstate law enforcement officers have been arrested on domestic violence charges in just the past six months.
Four of them worked for Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright.
7 News spoke with the sheriff about the arrests.
“I’ve got zero tolerance for domestic violence,” Sheriff Chuck Wright said. “I couldn’t care less what badge you wear. I don’t care how important you think you are in your community. We don’t do that.”
Sheriff Wright told 7 News he’s never seen so many arrests from his own department, in such a short amount of time, and all of them are related to domestic violence.
In just six months, two of his deputies and two detention center officers were put behind bars.
Former jailer Kelvin Washington was arrested in May, accused of assault.
Former deputy Donald Ross was arrested in July, accused of slamming a pregnant woman to the ground.
Sheriff Wright said it’s tough to hear things like this, but when he does, he immediately acts.
“I have Facebook pages, too, and I hear this stuff about ‘Well, they’re covering it up,’ and I’m like ‘I’m the one who called SLED.’ I called SLED to tell them we got a complaint about it, so I don’t know how much more open I can be about it,” Wright said.
In the past month, two more arrests happened.
Christopher Marden was charged with kidnapping and aggravated domestic violence. He’s accused of grabbing the victim’s neck, throwing her to the floor, and hitting her.
Cody Steiner is accused of grabbing a woman’s arms while she was holding an infant and pushing her. Steiner had been let go before that incident.
“We hire people. We don’t hire robots. And our people make really dumb choices, but I stand by my policy,” Wright said. “We’re not going to tolerate that mess. You’ve just got to make better choices than that.”
Wright told 7 News his employees have the option to get help if they need it.
“I get this job is stressful, trust me. I’ve got a lot of stress with my job, too, but I don’t go home–just because me and my wife are arguing about something or disagree about something–I don’t go home and put my hands on her,” he said.
A former Spartanburg police officer and a Cherokee County deputy were also arrested for domestic violence in the past six months.
Sheriff Wright encourages all victims in violent situations to speak up.