Originally created 05/16/03

Police chief still faces complaints



NEW ELLENTON - Police Chief Van McMillan is still under investigation for complaints against his police work, despite being cleared Wednesday by the town council for allegations of misconduct stemming from two March arrests, 2nd Circuit Solicitor Barbara Morgan said Thursday.

The prosecutor said she will meet with officials from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division next week to discuss complaints against Chief McMillan that go beyond the scope of the council's review.

She said the council's vote Wednesday night not to discipline Chief McMillan has no effect on her review.

"Their administration doesn't change the potential for anything else," she said. "We will be meeting with SLED to compare various complaints we've received through various channels."

Ms. Morgan declined to discuss the complaints, as did SLED officials.

Chief McMillan says SLED is looking at his actions stemming from the arrest of David Ingram Jr., though Ms. Morgan said there are additional complaints.

Aiken County sheriff's deputies responded Sept. 3 to the 200 block of Chime Bell Church Road to arrest Mr. Ingram, 17, on a New Ellenton warrant charging him with sexual assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct in the first degree.

Mr. Ingram hit himself in the head with a bottle and ran from the deputies into the woods, according to a sheriff's report.

Chief McMillan arrived to assist after Mr. Ingram's family called him to ease tension at the scene, said Fred Davis, Mr. Ingram's grandfather.

A discrepancy in the case is who was responsible after the chief left the scene. Chief McMillan said he escorted Mr. Ingram to Aiken Regional Medical Centers for treatment and later left him with hospital security.

He had been told a sheriff's deputy would complete Mr. Ingram's arrest and take him to jail, he said. Records from the sheriff's office show that is what happened, though sheriff's officials say that's not how it was supposed to happen.

"In riding to the hospital with this young man, he essentially took custody of him," sheriff's Capt. Michael Frank said.

Chief McMillan denies any wrongdoing.

"If somebody calls again and asks for assistance in a life or death situation," he said, "I'm going to give it."

Reach Josh Gelinas at (803) 279-6895 or josh.gelinas@augustachronicle.com.