It was supposed to have been a routine duty. Instead, it ended with a South Carolina public safety officer getting fired from his job. Now, that officer is facing criminal charges for having allegedly “caused physical harm to a juvenile patient.”
The S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) announced this week that Vincent Nocera, 38, of West Columbia, S.C. had been charged with third-degree assault and misconduct in office in connection with an incident that allegedly took place five months ago.
Arrest warrants released by SLED indicate Nocera worked as a public safety officer for the S.C. Department of Mental Health (SCDMH). On January 13 of this year, he was one of several officers holding a juvenile patient who was being sedated at the William S. Hall psychiatric hospital in northeast Columbia, S.C. After being released, the patient began kicking.
At this point, “Nocera used excessive force and delivered four closed-fist punches to the calf region” of the juvenile, according to a probable cause affidavit accompanying a warrant for his arrest.
The affidavit goes on to say other officers intervened by shoving Nocera to the ground to prevent him from inflicting more blows. The incident was caught on body-worn camera video, which also allegedly depicted Nocera shouting obscenities at the juvenile.
Specifically, Nocera is accused of screaming “motherf*cker” approximately two times at the juvenile patient during the incident.
Surveillance cameras also reportedly captured the incident as it unfolded.
Nocera was arrested last Friday (June 2, 2023), booked into the Alvin S. Glenn detention center and later released on bond. His case will be handled by the office of S.C. fifth circuit solicitor Byron Gipson.
If convicted of the assault charge, Nocera faces a maximum punishment of thirty days in jail and a $500 fine. The misconduct in office offense carries a maximum punishment of one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
As with all cases, Nocera is considered innocent until proven guilty by the criminal justice system, or until such times as he may wish to enter some form of allocution in connection with a plea agreement with prosecutors related to any of the charges that may be filed against him.
RELEASE/ WARRANTS …
(Via: S.C. State Law Enforcement Division)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
J. Mark Powell is an award-winning former TV journalist, government communications veteran, and a political consultant. He is also an author and an avid Civil War enthusiast. Got a tip or a story idea for Mark? Email him at [email protected].
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