Attorney General Alan Wilson announced that former Florence County Deputy Brian Proffitt pleaded guilty as charged Monday to assault and battery 2nd degree and misconduct in office. Proffitt used his flashlight to hit a handcuffed victim in the head after putting the man under arrest. The assault charge carries a sentence of up to three years in prison while common law misconduct in office carries up to 10 years.
The case was investigated by the Florence County Sheriff’s Office.
Judge William L. Seals sentenced Proffitt to three years in prison, the maximum, suspended to six months in prison followed by four years of probation on the assault charge. On the misconduct in office charge, Judge Seals sentenced Proffitt to eight years in prison suspended to six months in prison followed by four years of probation. The sentences will run concurrent, which means Proffitt will serve a total of six months in prison and then four years of probation. The victim was present and had a statement read to the court.
This case was scheduled to pick a jury Monday in Florence when Proffitt entered his guilty plea.
Brian Proffitt, in total could have served 13 years in prison for his actions, but instead Judge Williams L. Seals chose to sentence Proffitt to only six (6) months in actual prison and then four (4) years on probation. Some have criticized this sentence as showing the softness of the judicial system when it comes to individuals who have served within its ranks.
The long term effects of Proffitt’s actions lies in the division it caused between good officers and the communities they serve. This divide created will take more than 6 months to heal as the gap between mistrust of law enforcement and the judicial system grows.