Inaccurate account of deputy-involved shooting ‘offensive and upsetting’ to man shot, lawyer says

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office released a statement Tuesday evening saying they got a key piece of information wrong in a deputy-involved shooting.

A deputy shot Dick Tench inside his Simpsonville home on June 14 while responding to a panic alarm call at the house. In the initial statement, authorities said the homeowner had opened the door and pointed a gun at the deputy. Now, they are retracting that part of their statement a day after releasing body cam footage of the incident.

“After a full internal investigation, this statement has proven to be inaccurate and we retract that portion of the original statement,” Lt. Jimmy Bolt said in a press release.

“The video’s clear,” Tench’s attorney Beattie Ashmore said. “He never opened his front door. He was shot through the window of his front door as he stood in his own home.”

The video shows the deputy shooting through a glass window at the side of the door, which was closed.

“It was the release of the body cam video Monday that has generated all this interest,” Ashmore said. “We wanted to make sure that it verified what Dick has said all along, and that is that he never opened his front door before he was shot four times by a Greenville.”

According to Ashmore, the Sheriff’s Office added insult to injury six weeks ago when they posted a statement to Facebook hours after the shooting, saying the homeowner opened the door and pointed a handgun directly at the deputy.

“Dick is a wonderful law-abiding citizen,” Ashmore said. “Got his concealed weapons permit, loves law enforcement, and for them to issue a narrative that he opened his own front door and pointed a gun at a Sheriff’s Deputy was incredibly offensive and upsetting to him.”

The Sheriff’s Office’s statement said the inaccurate account was a miscommunication, and that the deputy involved did not say it during the internal investigation. However, the video includes audio of the deputy accusing Tench of pointing a gun at him at the scene and shows that Tench had a gun inside his home when he was shot.

“The Sheriff’s Office strives to be transparent in our duties and get information out to the public as quickly as possible,” Bolt said in the press release. “In the haste of releasing information, we erred and regret any confusion this has caused.”

Ashmore said his client was shot in the groin and the chest but that he is doing well. He said Tench has two goals right now: healing and making sure the deputy who shot him stays off the streets. He said they are prepared to file a lawsuit if need be.

“We remain committed to serving the citizens of Greenville County and releasing information that is timely but accurate,” Bolt said in the release.

The deputy is on paid administrative leave, according to Bolt. SLED is investigating the incident.


    

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