Local Governance – Local Sheriff an Insider Threat to the Citizenry? Sheriff, Colleton County, SC

Sources: A listener, who drives through the North-South corridor of I-95 frequently during travels through the state. Due to his occupation and access to the local citizens, he continuously hears the difficulties within the county. He maintains a positive view and relationship with law enforcement officers throughout the southeast, however, allegations against Sheriff R. A. “Andy” Strickland deter him from entrepreneurial endeavors within the county.

WrongThink Radio has had the honor to discuss the allegations against Strickland with multiple individuals in Colleton County. Some of these individuals fear retribution if their names are released. Some of the residents provided unique nicknames to describe Strickland from previous interactions with him or his staff.

Strickland Campaign PhotoSheriff R.A. Strickland, a.k.a. “The Playboy Sheriff”, a.k.a. “The Absentee Sheriff”

In this article, Wrongthink Radio will address the following allegations using an intelligence analysis and insider threat model: racist behavior, assault, unhurried response times, violating citizens constitutional rights, and suspicious real estate business practices. Furthermore, we want to provide the citizens of this beautiful county with a safe, unbiased avenue to report criminal activities. We do not endorse any risky behavior which will endanger you or your family. We will protect your confidentiality with the utmost integrity.

Strickland’s Biography

Strickland is married with two children. His election site appears confusing, “For the next sixteen years of my life, I built a decorated career on the road with Colleton County Sheriff’s office (deputy), The Department of Natural Resources (game warden), The South Carolina Highway Patrol (trooper) and I am currently the Sheriff of Colleton County.” Source: http://www.andystricklandforsheriff.com/about.html

Strickland ran as the Democratic candidate in 2008 after the previous sheriff’s office under George Malone was infiltrated with deputies directly associated with drug dealers. Malone’s final term was defined by a lack of leadership and increased gang activity since 2006. Malone’s lack of leadership failed to identify his lieutenant as a major insider threat who passed critical information to drug/gang leaders under investigation.

In 2012, the Democratic Party basically ignored Strickland because he willingly deceived the public on reporting crime statistics. He did little to deter the growing gang problem even though he received federal funding to fight this locally. Fortunately, his deputies could show federal law enforcement officers where the gang members resided. The missing children fiasco was interesting. The children were discovered 24 hours after being reported missing. A deputy searched a location previously cleared by law enforcement (located 100 yards away from the residence) and discovered the children safe.

Analyst Comment: During the 2016 campaign, there was an opinion piece written in the Press and Standard which identified his lack of leadership abilities. Although some of the points were proven, the article appeared to be an emotional response to Strickland’s performance. Strickland would not answer reporters as to why the children were in a location previously searched and secured by deputies the day prior (100 yards away in line-of-sight of the residence). In fact, he avoided any contact with the press afterwards. I assess this was a narcissistic publicity stunt to solidify his position as the sheriff. In the few interviews he participated, it is very easy to challenge his statements and cause him to become completely flustered.

Allegations

Racism/Racist Practices – There has been multiple statements on social media accusing Strickland of either being a racist, hiring racist deputies, and/or supporting racist activity within the office.

Analyst Comment: At this time, WrongThink Radio cannot accurately connect Strickland or his office to racism. A few race-baiting, leftist organizations in the county tried to accuse Strickland’s department of this behavior. Most of the comments lacked any substance to provide investigative leads. I assess those groups to be nothing more than uneducated racists who want to provide a “scape-goat” for their criminal behavior (ex. “It’s the police who’s to blame. Not me selling meth!”).

Assault – The local newspaper reported Strickland and his deputies were being investigated for assaulting a local citizen through the support of the National Action Network. This allegation could be proven false, however, Strickland ensured dash/body cameras did not provide a proper view of the arrest. Subsequently, the arrestee suffered multiple wounds. Within the past few months, officers within the county heard Strickland ask over the radio if the cameras in the jail were turned off. Several detainees were beaten so severely, one of the physicians said when the detainee breaths, it’s like “he is crumbling a bag of potato chips in his pocket”. Others suffered boot marks, bruises and fractures.

Another source alleged he spent several months attempting to contact the “Absentee Sheriff” to discuss a matter affecting his elderly parents. The source lived out of state and upon arriving at his parents’ residence, he attempted to telephone Strickland several times. After finally reaching the sheriff, Strickland agreed to meet with him at the residence. Strickland arrived with several deputies. He arrested the source based off a warrant issued for misuse of a telephone. Strickland’s deputies arrested him and took him to the county jail. He was booked and taken into an interrogation room. An investigator came into the room, and escorted him out of the jail (backyard). Strickland began to curse him out and threatened the source in multiple ways. He reinforced his position as the sheriff and advised the source that he runs this county, not Governor Haley.

Analyst Comment: Through multiple sources, WrongThink Radio has been able to assess Strickland and deputies are involved with this type of behavior. To our knowledge, Chief Deputy Buddy Hill remained committed to Strickland, thus supporting his conduct.

                                                  Chief Deputy

Chief Deputy Buddy Hill

Violating Constitutional Rights/Election Laws – Multiple sources insinuate Strickland demands loyalty from his deputies. Their loyalty is expected during elections. In his official capacity as Colleton County Sheriff, he has been named as the defendant for the following crimes:

S.C. Code Ann. § 16-17-560: It is unlawful for a person to assault or intimidate a citizen, discharge a citizen from employment or occupation, or eject a citizen from a rented house, land or other property because of political opinions or the exercise of political rights and privileges guaranteed to every citizen by the Constitution and laws of the United States or by the Constitution and law of this State.”

S.C. Code Ann. § 8-13-765(a): “No person may use government personnel, equipment, materials, or an office building in an election campaign. The provisions of this subsection do not apply to a public official’s use of an official residence.”

14th Amendment, US Constitution under 42 U.S.C. § 1983: “Every person who under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, Suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress . . .”

1st Amendment, US Constitution, freedom of speech and assembly. Plaintiff was ordered to attend Strickland’s rallies, and pressured not to vote/support the challenger.

Analyst Note: According to the court websites, this case has not been adjudicated. We assess Strickland participated in this behavior due to corroboration of source interviews. Law enforcement sources working in the county assess the sheriff’s office has become extremely political. One source sees the leadership as acting like a bunch of “high school teen-age boys who are part of the in-crowd”, When Strickland took office, he appointed Captain Jason Chapman to lead his Criminal Investigations Unit. It has been reported by multiple sources that Chapman and other investigators have been present during the reported assaults. Chapman remains faithful to Strickland’s “cause”.

                                                             CPT Jason Chapman                                                                 Captain Jason Chapman

Response Times – During a city town hall meeting, Strickland was reported as being belligerent and failing to address the citizens of his poor response times to 911 calls. Interestingly, the author of a Press & Standard article attempted to show support for the sheriff in the title, but the contents showed Strickland lacked the maturity to discuss the problem and acted like a teenager being sent to his room. The contributor of the article has been a writer for the Press & Standard for years. However, most of her articles are about topics that have no real impact on the local community.

Analyst Note: There has been multiple reports from citizens stating Strickland cannot ensure his personnel react in a timely manner. In some cases, a deputy will not respond if he/she knows Andy has a poor relationship with the individual who’s reporting the incident. The lack of leadership can be directly connected to Strickland’s absence. He is hardly ever in his office, nor on patrol. There have been reported sightings he is working at one of his several properties during normal business hours.

 Real Estate Business – His overall total investment/liability for his business activities is $487,500.00. His annual salary from the sheriff’s office is ~$70,000.00.  Strickland is the owner of Half Moon Investments, LLC. Last year, his spouse’s salary ranged from $56,805.00 – $95,578.20 as a local real estate agent. He purchased two residences for $5.00 and $10.00. However, both properties had the cumulative market value of $39,000.00. Strickland and his wife’s previous annual income does not take into consideration taxes, personal debt, business overhead, rent payments, or insurance.

Analyst Note: The couple’s combined salary cannot account for the level of liability he appears to be exhibiting.  According to county records, Strickland purchased two properties for $15.00, more than 98% less than the market value. As of October 2017, the analyst cannot determine any other sources of legitimate income. He purchased most of his properties at approximately 50% under the market value. Mr. Strickland appears to calculate his crime statistics with the same “fuzzy math” he uses in his business practices.

To further confirm or deny money laundering, WrongThink Radio is calling on any Colleton County citizens to contact our show with any information to assist our analysis. If our analysis is correct, Strickland is using his real estate business to launder monies gained from unknown sources. This poses a significant insider threat to the public safety of citizens and law enforcement officers in the county. Strickland purchased most of his properties at 50% under the market value. Due to a prolonged economic downfall over many decades, properties can be sold for such a low price. Now, if that were the case, the market values would reflect a number closer to his purchasing price unless he is paying cash under the table which would further legitimize monetary gain from unknown sources. Strickland has an alleged history of abuse which may indicate he is using coercion or other tactics to obtain such a bargain.

Again, if you have any information to any of these claims, please do not hesitate to contact WrongThink Radio. We would appreciate any video, audio, or photographs proving these allegations.  However, do not take any unnecessary risks. We will protect your identity from the sheriff and his deputies.

About the author: The author is a former intelligence professional with approximately 20 years’ experience within the intelligence community working in multiple disciplines. He has deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan supporting tactical and operational commanders focusing on leading multi-discipline intelligence teams in several kinetic areas of operation. He holds an undergraduate degree, focuses on local governance, and how the decisions of elected officials impact every aspect of their development.

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