MANNING – Manning’s former police chief, Blair Shaffer, pled not guilty Monday afternoon to multiple federal charges including money laundering, theft of federal funds and providing false statements after FBI agents arrested him Monday morning.
Shaffer appeared in federal court in Charleston Monday afternoon where he entered his not guilty plea and was released on a $25,000 bond.
According to the federal indictment against Shaffer, he has been charged with taking more than $75,000 in public funds between September and November 2015.
Shaffer’s firing by city officials in July 2018 sparked more than a month of meetings between Shaffer, city officials and the city’s grievance committee.
On July 12, 2018, Manning Mayor Julia Nelson announced Shaffer’s termination as Manning’s police chief, citing the “safety of our residents, guests and community." A copy of Shaffer’s employee file obtained at the time by The Sumter Item through a FOIA request was pristine, listing no reprimands or inappropriate behavior through his more than 25 years of employment with the city police department.
He fought his termination by asking for a grievance hearing. Following numerous city council meetings and a meeting of the city’s grievance committee, Manning City Council voted to uphold Shaffer’s termination at a special called meeting on Aug. 7.
Less than one week later on Aug. 10, Manning City Council voted unanimously to “waive attorney-client privilege” in granting a request from an outside agency that was seeking information on a “former or current” employee. Council members did not name the person or department involved in the investigation. Information regarding a recent investigation into the city’s police department was mentioned on Aug. 2 when Shaffer appeared before the city's Grievance Committee asking for his old job back.
Shaffer referenced a recent investigation into his former department by the city's attorneys. He told the members of the committee that while his department had been investigated by the attorneys that he did not know their findings even though he had requested the results of their investigation.
This is a developing story. It will be updated as more information becomes available.
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