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Florence County Jail Death Prompts (Another) Richland County Investigation

Pee Dee sheriff continues to bilk Midlands taxpayers over personal grudge …

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An inmate at the Florence County, S.C. detention center died on Friday afternoon, deputies told reporter Tonya Brown of WPDE TV 15 (ABC – Florence/ Myrtle Beach, S.C.).

Ordinarily, such an incident would trigger an investigation by the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED).

Not in this case, though.  Due to lingering bad blood between Florence County sheriff Kenney Boone – whose agency has jurisdiction over the detention center – and SLED over a personal issue, Boone has summoned investigators from the Richland County, S.C. sheriff’s department (RCSD) to handle the investigation instead.

If that sounds familiar, it should …

Two weeks ago in the aftermath of a deadly officer-involved shooting in Florence, S.C., Boone turned back a SLED special weapons and tactics (SWAT) team that had been dispatched to respond to the shooting.  Moments later, he kicked SLED agents off of the crime scene – summoning Richland County instead.  Ultimately, numerous federal assets had to be called in to process the sprawling crime scene.

This news outlet wrote a column panning Boone’s petulance in the face of this horrific event.

“That Boone refused to allow professional officers with extensive training and years of experience to do their jobs is beyond contemptible – no matter the circumstances,” we wrote at the time.  “That he refused to let them do their jobs under the circumstances that unfolded … is nothing short of galling – and strikes us as further evidence of his complete and total unfitness to hold office.”

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Boone’s drama with SLED began this summer when the 52-year-old sheriff – who recently married his on-again, off-again girlfriend Anna Hovey Boone – claimed to have received death threats from his new wife’s ex-husband, Alex Curlington.

Curlington is married to a SLED agent, Genia Curlington, and Boone was livid at the agency for not firing her – and not immediately arresting her husband – in the aftermath of these alleged threats.

SLED never had a chance to do that, though.  The agency was in the middle of investigating the charge against Alex Curlington when Boone called in Richland County deputies to take their place.

For those of you keeping score at home, there are now three active investigations in Florence County currently being conducted by law enforcement assets from Richland County sheriff Leon Lott’s agency.

Taxpayers in Richland County are eventually going to get sick of this … right?

House minority leader Todd Rutherford, who represents Richland County in the S.C. General Assembly, already is.

“This is exactly the sort of situation that not only erodes public trust in law enforcement but strains the already-overburdened taxpayers in Richland County,” he told us. “Richland County citizens are now having to pony up for yet another investigation in Florence County.  Sheriff Boone’s failings and misgiving should not be used to take the taxpayers of Richland County for a ride.”

Boone’s increasingly erratic behavior has been a cause of significant concern in Florence County ever since he returned from a stint in rehab for an alcohol addiction last fall.

In fact, while he was venting his spleen at SLED for not arresting his new wife’s ex-husband for verbal threats – he was the subject of an investigation by the office of S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson over threatening messages he left on the voicemail of Florence County finance director Kevin Yokim.

Why got Boone so hot?   Yokim challenged him on what appears to have been an attempt to subsidize a vacation for his family on the taxpayer dime.

Boone’s response to all of this?  He threatened those criticizing him.

“I assure you, and God is my witness, I will return the favor ten fold!!!” the recently baptized Boone wrote on his Facebook page.

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