SLED clears officers involved in fatal 2017 shooting of any criminal wrongdoing

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Two Myrtle Beach Police officers involved in the fatal shooting of a man who reportedly used a vehicle to strike a fellow officer in September of 2017 have been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing by the State Law Enforcement Division.

Jarvis Hayes, then 31, died on September 8, 2017, five days after being shot by officers at the Mystic Sea Hotel on Ocean Boulevard.

Private First Class Justin Leiberth and Patrolman Drew Fox were placed on administrative duty pending the competition of the investigation.

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On January 31, 2018, SLED received a letter from Fifteenth Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson, advising that there was “no evidence of chargeable criminal wrongdoing” on behalf of either officer.

The letter from Richardson details the circumstances leading up to the fatal shooting:

Hayes was identified as being involved in a disturbance with several women staying at a local hotel. Security staff responded, and Hayes got into his car. He then swerved toward the security and maintenance staff in an attempt to “run them over.” Security then called Myrtle Beach Police for help.

A video from one of the nearby businesses shows Hayes driving a white Jaguar through an occupied pedestrian area, with the entire vehicle up on the sidewalk at one point.

A marked MBPD patrol car then began pursing Hayes with its blue lights activated. Hayes turned into the Mystic Sea Hotel parking lot, then performed a multi-point turn to drive back out of the lot. At that time, MBPD officers repeatedly commanded him to stop the car.

Hayes then “aggressively accelerated his vehicle to the point of spinning the tires and ramming three vehicles,” including a police car, pinning one officer’s leg between the two vehicles. As the officer tried to free his leg, his fellow officers fired on the driver to force him to stop accelerating.

The firing ceased when the vehicle stopped and the threat was abated. These actions were corroborated through video evidence of the incident.

The letter continues by stating that there was substantial evidence to show Hayes was acting intoxicated and driving in a manner that threatened the lives of the public on Ocean Boulevard, as well the life of the officer hit by his car, to the point where his fellow offers believed they must fire their weapons in defense of the officer.

Hayes’ toxicology report indicated a blood-alcohol concentration of .237 percent, nearly three times the legal limit of .08 percent.

The SLED investigation into the actions of the two involved officers was closed on January 31.

View the full SLED case file from the investigation below:

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