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Colleton County Sheriff Strickland takes leave

Colleton County Sheriff R. Andy Strickland is taking a leave of absence from the county’s top law enforcement seat after being arrested on Saturday, Nov. 9th, by law enforcement officers with the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED). SLED charged Strickland with second-degree Criminal Domestic Violence. Since his arrest, Strickland, 40, has been released from the Colleton County Detention Center on his personal recognizance (PR Bond), which occurred during a bond hearing held on Saturday.
On Monday, at about 6 p.m., Strickland released a statement on the incident. It was his first statement since the arrest.
In that statement, he said he is taking a leave of absence from his sheriff’s position and is asking that current Chief Deputy Buddy Hill be placed in the sheriff’s role.
Hill was originally an opponent of Strickland in a sheriff’s election; however, Hill became a chief deputy to Strickland’s administration after Strickland was elected.
According to Colleton County Administrator Kevin Griffin, there are no county statues regarding who can be appointed to a sheriff’s elected seat. Matters pertaining to the sheriff’s office are dictated by state law.
“For the last seven years, the great citizens of Colleton County have placed their trust in me,” said Strickland, in a written statement. “As Sheriff, out of love, and respect for my employees, and the citizens of Colleton County, I have placed myself on a leave of absence. Effective immediately. This is standard policy within our office,” he said.
“Chief Deputy, Buddy Hill, is someone I’ve always placed great trust in. He will continue to provide due diligence to the citizens of our community during my absence. This time will allow me to heal and self-reflect on myself. I will strive to be stronger, and better at serving the citizens of Colleton, and my employees upon returning,” he said.
The charges against Strickland stem from an incident that occurred at about 10 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 7th, at a Colleton County residence.
According to affidavits provided by SLED, Strickland is accused of punching a woman more than once in the face. This caused “moderate bodily injury,” the arrest warrant states.
The woman also sustained a defense injury to her arm from trying to protect her face during the alleged assault, the affidavit states.
In addition to striking the woman, Strickland is also accused of taking both of the woman’s cell phones away from her, preventing her from calling for medical help or from reporting the incident, according to information provided by SLED. Strickland also allegedly damaged the woman’s vehicle that she was “attempting to flee in,” the affidavit states.
The woman’s injuries were photographed by SLED agents, and “they are consistent with her recollection of events,” according to the affidavit.
The woman’s identity is being withheld, as is standard protocol for any victim in an ongoing criminal investigation.
As of press deadline, no statement from Strickland has been issued.
Since Strickland is a member of law enforcement and is the sheriff of Colleton County, it is customary for SLED to arrest him and to investigate the charges against him.
SLED is still investigating the case, and local sheriff’s office leaders cannot release any other investigation about the ongoing investigation.
The case against him will be prosecuted by the Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office, the agency that prosecutes all crimes in Colleton County.

Heather Walters (1602 Posts)