A Beaufort County judge ruled late Tuesday afternoon that The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette are entitled to an unredacted copy of a report related to an internal investigation into citizen complaints against a former Beaufort County sheriff’s deputy.
The decision by Beaufort County Special Circuit Court Judge Marvin Dukes reversed his previous ruling that determined the newspapers could receive only certain portions of the report. That original decision came after an anonymous plaintiff sought to block the release of the documents related to the investigation.
Dukes heard arguments for reconsideration Monday, with the newspapers challenging the ability of an unnamed third party to try to block the release of documents the government had deemed as public record.
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In his ruling Tuesday, Dukes ruled that, because a family court judge had recently declined to seal family court records that contained the same allegations, his original ruling had become moot.
The investigative report was spurred by allegations made by Hilton Head Island residents Chris O’Nan and Karen Anderson that a deputy used his police vehicle and equipment to facilitate “an adulterous relationship” and abused his position by running a license plate check on an individual without cause. Staff Sgt. DeJuan Holmes resigned when confronted with the accusations.
The unredacted copy of the report is expected to be made public Wednesday.