Haley suspends Chesterfield sheriff after charges

Sheriff Sam Parker

Gov. Nikki Haley has suspended Chesterfield County Sheriff Sam Parker from office following his indictment on misconduct charges.

Gubernatorial spokesman Rob Godfrey said Wednesday that Haley signed an order removing Parker after the State Grand Jury handed up the charges.

Prosecutors say Parker used state inmates to work on his home and personal property and allowed the inmates to live outside jail, go shopping and eat at restaurants.

Authorities say he allowed hand-picked inmates to live in a dorm, have televisions and an iPad, go on trips to the lake and spend holidays with his family.

The indictment details special treatment Parker gave two inmates. One was serving seven years for drug trafficking, the other was sentenced to 15 years for arson.

Investigators say Parker let the inmates drive sheriff's office vehicles, have unsupervised visits with women and drink alcohol. In exchange, the men did work on Parker's home and helped him and his wife decorate for parties.

Authorities also say Parker gave weapons to friends with no law enforcement training.

He faces four counts of misconduct in office and two counts of furnishing contraband to inmates. Each charge is a misdemeanor, carrying a possible sentence of up to ten years in prison.

Parker's bond hearing and arraignment is set for 11 a.m. Friday at the Richland County Courthouse.

Parker met with some of the department Wednesday morning and told them he plans to fight the charges against him.

Coroner Kip Kiser becomes the acting sheriff.

Kiser says he is no longer working as coroner while serving as acting sheriff. Kiser says Chief Deputy Coroner Chuck Clark is now acting coroner.