Police Chief Ken Miller and Interim Captain Jason Rampey have been placed on paid administrative leave, according to the City of Greenville.
Deputy Chief Howie Thompson is now acting police chief.
“As these are personnel matters, we are unable to comment further at this time,” said Leslie Fletcher, the city’s communications manager.
The placing of Miller and Rampey on administrative leave comes two days after the conclusion of an investigation by the State Law Enforcement Division over three separate matters, all of which involved Miller.
No charges were filed against either Miller or Rampey as a result of the investigation.
1st Circuit Solicitor David M. Pascoe noted in a memorandum at the conclusion of the investigation that his office and SLED, “are concerned about representations made by law enforcement officers discussed in this memorandum.”
The memorandum went on to call the actions of Miller and Rampey “very troubling.”
The case of the “prominent businessman”
The SLED investigation was focused on three separate matters involving Miller.
The first two matters, which are outlined in greater detail in the memorandum, were found to have no evidence supporting the underlying allegations against Miller.
The third matter, which was the primary focus of the memorandum, involves allegations that Miller gave preferential treatment to a wealthy businessman who was arrested for public intoxication.
The businessman in question (who has not been publicly identified) is a financial contributor to the Greenville Police Foundation. He was arrested on August 30, 2018, by Officer Blake Gibson.
Shortly after the arrest, Miller was reported to have stated, “You’ve got to be sh***ing me. Why didn’t I know?” Miller later told SLED Lt. Gene Donahue that he had “called Jason [Rampey] and he is working on it.”
According to the memorandum, Rampey then contacted Municipal Court Judge Matthew Hawley and Greenville City Prosecutor Robert Coler to ask about getting the charges against the businessman dismissed. Rampey allegedly told Coler that the arresting Officer Blake Gibson had agreed to dismiss the charges against the businessman, but the SLED investigation found that Gibson did not agree to the dismissal and had told Rampey it was, “not right or ethical to dismiss the charges.”
Regardless, the charges were ultimately dismissed by Hawley at the request of Coler.
Gibson reportedly told SLED that he called Rampey on two occasions to express his displeasure over the charges being dismissed. During the second conversation, Rampey reportedly responded to Gibson’s displeasure by saying that “it did not matter how he felt because the case was being dismissed for ‘political reasons.'”
Why no charges
SLED looked into two charges against Miller related to his handling of the arrest of the businessman: misconduct in office, and obstruction of justice.
“The evidence suggests that Chief Miller wanted the charge [against the businessman] dismissed, but he did not want it known that he personally intervened in the case,” the investigation concluded, according to the memorandum.
The investigation found that Miller had made contradictory statements and also found evidence that Miller acted to dismiss the charges because of the businessman’s financial contributions to the GPF.
“At the very least, their statements [Miller’s and Rampey’s] are contradicted by other officers,” according to the memorandum.
The investigation found that although these misrepresentations made by Miller and Rampey are “not a crime per se, such conduct may be considered as consciousness of guilt.”
Even still, the investigation concluded that the evidence was insufficient to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Miller or Rampey purposefully acted with corrupt intent, given that the businessman qualified for the city’s “Good Behavior Dismissal” program because he had no criminal history.
“In summary, Chief Miller has shown questionable judgement…” and “Chief Miller and Lt. Rampey do not appear to have been fully forthcoming with SLED in their investigation of this matter.”