CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Attorneys representing the families of three women killed in a crash on Mother’s Day 2022 released a joint statement Friday calling into question what they describe as a failure by the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office to monitor and discipline repeat offenses by one of the deputies involved in the crash.
“Today we learned that when CCSO finally got around to looking at Deputy Sacks’ interactions with the public and his driving during the month of January 2023, they discovered he was still an out-of-control deputy in every respect and continued his own unlawful and dangerous driving some months after the deaths,” the statement read.
A lawsuit filed May 15 alleged that Charleston County Deputy Clinton Sacks raced deputy Emily Pelletier while en route to a stalled vehicle on Highway 17. But in the process, Deputy Pelletier collided with a vehicle occupied by Stephanie, Miranda, and Shanice Dantzler-Williams.
All three were killed.
Deputy driving data revealed that Sacks’ and Pelletier’s vehicles reached speeds up to 80-90 mph while responding to the non-emergency call and neither had their lights nor sirens on.
But the allegation of racing is just one of many issues involving Deputy Sacks. Attorneys now want to know why he was not terminated for frequent behavior that department leaders believed to be “reprehensible.”
Deputy Sacks was issued a letter of suspension in March 2023 following an investigation from the Office of Professional Standards which reviewed video of his conduct spanning December 31, 2022, to January 31, 2023.
“It is apparent you lack professionalism, care, and competency to adequately do your job,” said Captain Turner in the letter to Sacks. “It is embarrassing to watch these videos and see the level of disservice that was done to the public. Your officer safety is reprehensible.”
The letter supports the notion that Sacks is an unsafe driver, noting that his in-car camera activated several times and showed him going “between 100 and 120 mph without responding to a call. No lights or sirens are activated.” The letter said there were also several instances of Sacks activating his lights to get through a red light and then immediately turning them off.
Capt. Turner also said that Sacks did not complete a report on six traffic stops in which drugs were found and seized and even pulled a gun on one driver who was reaching for his glovebox without filing the appropriate paperwork.
During a January 1, 2023, traffic stop, the deputy asked a driver why he had approximately $6,000 in cash in his vehicle. When told the driver was a club promoter, the deputy tells him that he once “dropped like $700 one night” at an exotic dance club and added, “I’m like damn, I blew some money!” No report was taken.
While responding to a verbal domestic disturbance, a female individual told Deputy Sacks that he had been drinking. Deputy Sacks advised her to gather her children, their belongings, and leave for the night by driving her vehicle.
“Clearly if someone has admitted consuming alcohol, it should never be suggested that they drive away,” Capt. Turner wrote.
The letter also referenced several interactions with the public during which Sacks acted unprofessionally and rudely, often using vulgar language.
In one January 10, 2023 instance, a woman told Sacks that someone took her phone and asked him to help her locate it. He responded, “hush, I don’t give a f— about your phone … I ain’t the f—-ing phone police.” When the woman questioned his behavior, Sacks refused to let up, the report states. “She then proceeds to tell you that you are wearing a badge and need to calm down. You continue to argue with her.”
Sheriff’s officials determined that Deputy Sacks was in violation of several policies and procedures. He was suspended from duty, without pay, for seven days and ordered to undergo a period of training upon his return.
“Clearly all of the above establishes why there has been a culture of Dangerous Deputy Driving at CCSO – no one at CCSO is engaged in any meaningful supervision of the Deputies and their driving, and if and when they finally do, and find absolute proof of unlawful and dangerous driving, the “consequences” are trivial,” the attorney statement said.
Sacks submitted his resignation on May 5, just days before the lawsuit was filed in that deadly Mother’s Day crash that detailed the racing incident. Sacks’ last day with the department was May 12, 2023.
The sheriff’s office did not provide a comment when asked Friday afternoon.