South Carolina Police-Fire Wars Arrest Leads to Wrongful Arrest Suit

Two South Carolina firefighters have filed suit against the local sheriff for false arrest and malicious prosecution following a police-fire wars skirmish last year.

On February 14, 2014, Fire Chief Andy Martin, 57, of the West Chester Volunteer Fire Department and his brother, firefighter Tommy Martin, 61, were arrested following an altercation with Chester County Sheriffs that occurred at the scene of a jackknifed tractor-trailer accident.

Chief Martin was charged with third degree assault and battery and disorderly conduct while his brother was charged with two counts of third degree assault and battery. The charges were later dismissed following an independent investigation by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED).

On Monday, the Martin brothers filed suit in Chester County Circuit Court against the Chester County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Alex Underwood. The suit accuses the sheriff of false arrest and malicious prosecution. We are hoping to obtain a copy of the complaint and will post it here if we are able.

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About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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