- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 14, 2017

ABBEVILLE, S.C. (AP) - A school district superintendent said a police chief asked him to drop a complaint against local officers after one of them broke into a high school to play basketball in the gym.

Abbeville School District Superintendent Jonathan Phipps said that Abbeville’s police chief compared officers climbing into Abbeville High School through what he said was an open window to a family member breaking into his home.

“I was asked to drop it. The example Chief Hall used was that if someone broke into your house, and you found out it was a relative, wouldn’t you want to drop it? If I found out one of my teachers broke into a school, I’d throw the book at them,” Phipps told The Index Journal of Greenwood (https://bit.ly/2tmoWot ).

Phipps also said the window was not open and was damaged when it was pried open.

Hall did not respond to several messages from the newspaper.



Officer Zane Vickery said he was doing a property check at Abbeville High School on Nov. 30 when he saw the open window. He said he climbed through to make sure there wasn’t anyone in the school because he wasn’t on a call. He said he invited the other officer to play basketball because that was a common practice.

School officials noticed muddy footprints by the window the next day and reported it to authorities.

The State Law Enforcement Division investigated, but Vickery was not charged. He resigned from Abbeville’s force and is now working for the McCormick Police Department.

Phipps is also leaving Abbeville. He will take over as superintendent of Lancaster County schools July 1. He said he was disappointed in how Abbeville city officials handled the situation.

“It got me in trouble with some powers that be in Abbeville that wanted me to drop it,” Phipps said. “Police officers need to be held to a higher standard.”

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Information from: The Index-Journal, https://www.indexjournal.com

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