AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) — An Aiken Department of Public Safety officer has been terminated following an investigation into excessive force being used during an arrest.
According to Aiken Department of Public Safety, PSO Anthony Mason was fired after an internal investigation. The case has been turned over to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division for investigation into possible criminal charges.
The incident reportedly occurred just before midnight on Tuesday, Jan. 3 when Mason responded to an accident between two vehicles on Two Notch Road and East Pine Log Road.
The driver of a Hyundai Tucson, Adriona Dunbar, and her passenger Akia Jordan spoke with Mason along with the driver of another vehicle. When asked for his vehicle information and insurance, Jordan told Mason that “times were hard” and that he didn’t have insurance on the Tucson.
When Mason reportedly asked Jordan for his license and registration and Jordan opened the driver’s side door to obtain the registration, Mason reportedly smelled a heavy odor of marijuana coming from the car.
Mason got testimonies from both parties, and ran them through his computer when he discovered Dunbar was driving on a suspended license.
Another officer arrived on the scene to assist Mason and observed Jordan becoming highly agitated and nervous. He reportedly approached Mason’s window to ask what was taking so long.
The other officer advised Mason that it was highly possible that Jordan was going to flee and that Mason should complete accident report documents first.
When Mason completed the report, he provided the other driver with a copy first. He then went to Jordan and Dunbar to explain the report. Mason advised Jordan that he was giving him a citation for operating the car uninsured and a driving under suspension for Dunbar.
Mason reportedly smelled marijuana coming from the vehicle again and decided to conduct a probable cause search of the vehicle. Jordan responded with “you are not searching the vehicle” and began walking away from officers.
Mason instructed Jordan to step back over in the grass, but reportedly insisted on walking away. Mason reportedly grabbed Jordan’s arm and advised him to place his hands behind his back, and Jordan then ran towards a nearby McDonald’s.
The other officer pursued Jordan and Mason followed behind. Jordan reportedly crossed four lanes of traffic and ran another 75 feet before surrendering.
The other officer grabbed Jordan and assisted him to the ground as Mason approached. The other officer instructed Jordan to put his hands behind his back and he continued to resist arrest.
While resisting, Mason struck Jordan on the top of the head. Jordan continued resisting by locking his left arm out. He was eventually detained and returned to the scene of the accident.
Additional officers arrived on the scene and detained Dunbar. Mason placed Jordan in custody for failure to comply. Jordan was searched as was the Hyundai.
Jordan complained of dizziness while in the patrol car and advised officers that he needed EMS. EMS arrived at the scene, evaluated Jordan, and found nothing wrong.
Mason transported Jordan to ADPS to receive his criminal history, then to Aiken Regional Medical Center to receive a jail clearance. Another officer took over custody of Jordan, and once cleared Jordan was transported to Aiken County Detention Center.
Dunbar was not arrested but was cited for driving under suspension on 1st offense.