ANDERSON — An internal investigation of two suspended Anderson police officers, one of whom used a prohibited chokehold on a suspect during a June 13 arrest, is ongoing.
Officer Brandon Reynolds used a chokehold, which had been banned by APD Chief Jake Brown just two days earlier, to take suspect Spencer Nice, 21, to the ground while Gravely assisted.
Video of the arrest shot by Nice’s girlfriend went viral. Nice was charged with resisting arrest. He has demanded that the officers be fired.
At a June 18 press conference, Anderson Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr. said the investigation of Reynolds and Gravely, both on paid administrative leave, was expected to take a week.
But 11 days later, Major Joel Sandefur, public information officer for the APD, said Monday there were no updates to report.
Broderick and Police Chief Jake Brown said during the press conference that, under the terms of the city’s contract with the Fraternal Order of Police, discipline is decided by the APD’s administrative staff.
“This case is being investigated by a merit officer who is an investigator,” Broderick said. “This investigation covers any misconduct, including possible criminal charges.”
At the same press conference, Broderick said Brown had conveyed the order banning chokeholds via email to APD officers 50 hours before Nice’s arrest. Departmental rules, the mayor said, require officers to view internal emails each day.
Broderick said he was disturbed by the video of Nice’s arrest and that the actions of the officers might have constituted excessive force.
Reynolds reported hearing gunshots about 9 p.m. June 13. He saw Nice and three other people walking in the area and stopped them to question Nice and his father, Van Nice.
“That’s part of the investigation,” Brown said. “We will view the report to look at his (Reynolds’) reasoning.”
The probable cause affidavit, written by Reynolds, indicates that when the officer approached the group, Spencer Nice began walking away.
“I ordered Spencer to walk towards me and told him that I was going to place him into handcuffs,” the probable cause affidavit reads. “He would not obey this order and was displaying signs of a person who I know to be contemplating some form or escape or attack in order to prevent his detention.”
The document states Nice did not comply with an order to place his hands behind his back. Both officers grabbed his arms, and Nice was attempting to pull free from their grasp, according to the affidavit. In the video, however, it does not appear that Nice is struggling to escape or fight.
Reynolds states in the affidavit that there was a blade visible in Nice’s pocket. Van Nice later said in an interview with The Herald Bulletin that his son had been using Sawzall blades to cut through a door of a car in his father’s garage that day and still had one of the blades in his pocket.
Both Reynolds and Gravely have been members of the police department for five years; neither has faced past disciplinary action.