Suspended Marlboro County sheriff, ex-deputy posted bond after 34 minutes

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MARLBORO COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Suspended Marlboro County Sheriff Charles Lemon and a former deputy posted bond 34 minutes after being booked into the same jail where a man they’re accused of tasing is still being held, according to jail officials.

Lemon and David Andrew Cook were booked at 3:41 p.m. Tuesday and were released at 4:15 p.m. after posting bond, according to officials. Lemon and Cook were both given $25,000 surety bonds Tuesday on charges relating to allegedly tasing Jarrel Lee Johnson in May 2020.

Suspended Marlboro County Sheriff Charles Lemon is handcuffed after being arraigned Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021 (WBTW)

Lemon and Cook were booked into the Marlboro County Detention Center, where the alleged tasing incident occurred. Johnson is still in the detention center, according to jail officials.

Bakari Sellers, who is representing the family of Jarrel Johnson, spoke in court Tuesday and said the family was unaware anything happened to their son while he was in jail and considered Lemon a friend until they saw video of the incident.

“This is arguably one of the most disgusting acts we’ve seen on video, your honor, perpetuated by law enforcement of an individual that’s still alive,” Sellers said.

Lemon’s attorney Morgan Martin said Lemon has been a life-long resident of Marlboro County except for when he was in the military and asked for bond to be granted. He argued that the taser was used to maintain control of the situation and said Lemon is not guilty.

“In a jail setting, somebody’s got to be in control and the question is, is that going to be law enforcement or is it going to be people who have been arrested,” Martin said.

Martin said the family is rightfully concerned about the video and nobody wanted this situation to happen, but said the actions of Lemon were reasonable. Martin argued that Johnson was brought to the jail earlier on the day of the incident for allegedly beating his dad with a bat.

Lemon and Cook have been charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, along with misconduct in office, according to an announcement last week by South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson.

In the video of the incident, Lemon orders the officials to remove the inmate’s handcuffs and “tase the hell out of him.” Lemon is heard on the video saying, “When y’all take the handcuffs off of him – when he turn around, stick that taser to his head.”

The sheriff then yells several things, including about how he knows Johnson’s whole family. He goes on to yell, “give him what he asked for.”

Former Bennettsville Police Department Chief Larry McNeil was named as interim sheriff until Lemon is acquitted, convicted, until if the indictment is disposed of or until a sheriff is elected in the next general election, according to an announcement. Cook resigned in July 2021 and was with the department since 2018.

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