Crime & Courts

Drug dealer who claimed Taser injuries gets prison

A guilty plea Wednesday by a drug dealer who was tasered is proof that a Richland County Sheriff's deputy did not use excessive force in subduing the man, Sheriff Leon Lott said.

Charles Green, 46, received nine years in prison without parole for possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and resisting arrest.

In January 2008, when deputies tried to stop Green in a traffic stop, he drove his car into a front yard and fled on foot.

After Green ignored deputies' warnings, he was tased - zapped by an electrical charge. Deputies, who saw Green stuffing a white substance in his mouth, tased him again to stop him from swallowing it and prevent him from overdosing, Lott said.

"The amount of crack cocaine Green was attempting to swallow would have likely killed him," Lott said.

Following his arrest, Green spoke with a reporter from The State newspaper, alleging deputies used excessive force against him.

Green told The State a deputy tased him seven times, six of which happened while he was handcuffed. The deputy said he tased Green five times, including two after he was handcuffed.

Green contended multiple Taser shocks caused him to be hospitalized for two months for kidney failure, seizures, breathing problems and severe muscle weakness. The FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice investigated the charges.

Green's doctors said his medical problems stemmed from swallowing crack cocaine. But one doctor said nerve damage in Green's right leg could have been caused by Taser shocks.

U.S. Attorney Walt Wilkins said in December 2008 that federal authorities determined the facts of the case didn't rise to the level of criminal charges against the deputy.

Lott said Green's allegations were an attempt to "take the focus off of him selling poison in our community and falsely accusing a deputy of doing his job."