Greenville Co. Sheriff’s Office clears deputies in fatal shooting

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GREENVILLE Co., SC (WSPA) — The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office has cleared deputies in the fatal shooting of a Greenville man.

“Well that’s not really surprising,” community activist Bruce Wilson told 7News. 

Jermaine Massey, 35, was fatally wounded March 19.

Deputies responded to Massey’s home on 3rd Avenue after he reported a fight with his girlfriend and requested help leaving the home they shared. Massey confessed to the dispatcher he was bipolar. 

Sergeant Ryan Flood, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, confirmed the deputies had been cleared by the department just days after dozens gathered at a memorial service for Massey. 

Deputies have said Massey ran towards them with a knife when they opened fire.

The shooting happened on 3rd Avenue in Greenville. Massey later died at Greenville Memorial Hospital. The coroner has since ruled his death a homicide. 

“I do believe that the officers overreacted,” Wilson said. “I believe it was a lack of training.”

An internal investigation into the shooting found that the deputies did not violate departmental policy and procedures and they were cleared from policy violations, according to the sheriff’s office.  

The coroner said Massey died from a gunshot wound to his chest. 

The S.C. Law Enforcement Division (SLED) is investigating Massey’s death, which is standard protocol in officer-involved shootings.

The 13th Circuit Solicitor’s Office said no decisions have been made since SLED’s investigation is not complete. 

According to Interim Sheriff Johnny Mack Brown the deputies, who have been on administrative leave, did not violate departament procedure. 

“I’m just hoping once we can get some justice for a family when this happens.”

Family members of Jermaine Massey released the following statement Wednesday afternoon:

The family and the coalition of community activist would like to express its displeasure in the decision to release those deputies back to patrol especially considering the incident involving Jermaine Massey on March 19 that resulted in his life being taken after calling 911 for help due to a mental meltdown. It is especially surprising to us that these officers have been internally cleared and released back to the streets of Greenville County without having had proper crisis intervention training nor de-escalation techniques. We would hope that these trigger sensitive officers will not be involved in any other deaths of this nature while on patrol. We will keep you posted for a complete press conference with more details.

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