PAMPLICO, SC (WBTW) – The Florence County Sheriff’s Office is addressing a photo that’s been circulating social media and was the subject of a recent post from a South Carolina based blogger.
Major Michael Nunn says Florence County deputies were called to assist a Department of Natural Resources officer on Blackstreet Road near Pamplico around 2:30 p.m. March 27. According to the DNR officer, suspects had just broken into the Pinewood Hunt Club clubhouse and were likely still in the area. A vehicle believed to have been used in the break-in was stuck in the mud nearby and the DNR officer had spotted several suspects running into the woods, explains Major Nunn.
The Florence County Sheriff’s Office tracking team searched for about three and a half hours before apprehending the suspects. The three suspects who were arrested, told deputies a fourth suspect was still on the run and he had a gun, according to Major Nunn.
The search for the fourth suspect was suspended, but the alleged burglar was later located and arrested without incident, Major Nunn says.
A photograph of the FCSO tracking team and the three suspects was given to the canine trainer from whom the sheriff’s office obtains tracking canines out of Edisto Island, SC, Major Nunn confirms. Similar photographs from other successful tracks have been provided for this trainer and posted by him on his Facebook Page.
The photo from the March 27 tracking of the suspects and the subsequent apprehension of the trio was the subject of an April 5 blog post by FitsNews. The blog, titled “Florence County Sheriff’s Photo Enrages Black Community,” sparked several comments on Facebook and the website itself. Within the blog, the author identifies two of the three suspects as African American.
The sheriff’s office states in a press release that, “All photographs are taken and forwarded to the trainer without regard to race, gender or ethnicity of the suspects. The faces of the suspects are blurred by the trainer prior to being posted, and the names of the suspects are not provided.”
Sheriff Kenney Boone says the office does not provide information that would compromise a suspect’s rights or privacy.
“This highly successful Tracking Team is trained to national standards and allows for the swift location of missing children, wandering Alzheimer’s victims as well as the apprehension of criminal suspects,” Sheriff Boone stated. “Florence County Sheriff’s Office does not disseminate any information which would violate privacy or otherwise infringe on a suspect’s rights to a fair trial.”