By Paul Gable
One of the main police defendants in the Southern Holdings case was arrested early Monday morning for criminal domestic violence and misconduct in office and fired from the Horry County Police Department hours after the incident.
Charles K. McLendon was arrested for actions taken against his estranged wife while on duty, in uniform using a Horry County Police Department vehicle.
McLendon demonstrated erratic, abusive and potentially lethal behavior during the incident, according to details of the arrest. His actions were not unlike those he demonstrated over 12 years ago during the Southern Holdings case.
McLendon was the officer who illegally arrested Southern Holdings CEO James Spencer on August 8, 2000. According to testimony in the case, McLendon subjected Spencer to various forms of abuse in the back of a police car over a period of eight hours before taking him to jail.
McLendon initiated a “high risk traffic stop” of Spencer and placed him under arrest on the basis of a false National Crime Information Center (NCIC) entry. The entry had been removed from the system three weeks prior to the arrest on a judge’s order.
The arrest took place one day after McLendon confirmed to Myrtle Beach police officer Rodney Lail that no warrants for Spencer were listed in the NCIC.
McLendon’s police report of the August 8, 2000 arrest of Spencer was filled with false information regarding Spencer and the incident. An outstanding warrant, false identification and illegal transportation of guns were items checked on the police report to justify the arrest.
There was no outstanding warrant, no false identification and the guns were part of a legal collection legally stored in the vehicle.
The charges against Spencer were thrown out during a preliminary court hearing on the case due to lack of evidence.
McLendon later made false statements about Spencer’s arrest and his overall involvement in the Southern Holdings case in a sworn deposition.
Based on a report generated by SLED of an “alleged” investigation of the arrest of Spencer, which appeared five years after the incident, Horry County Deputy Solicitor Fran Humphries refused to prosecute McLendon and five other HCPD and Horry County Sheriff’s deputies involved in the case.
One wonders if this latest incident could have been avoided if proper actions had been taken against McLendon 12 years ago. What will happen with the charges from this latest incident?
Read a full report of the latest McLendon incident: