A South Carolina deputy who arrested Georgia Southern University’s quarterback last year after mistaking the bird poop on the hood of his car for cocaine has resigned, according to multiple media reports.
Charles Browder left the Saluda County Sheriff's Office on Jan. 20, a week before a story by Augusta news station WRDW revealed he left a previous department in the midst of an internal investigation there.
Browder made national headlines last summer after arresting Georgia Southern quarterback Shai Werts on drug charges following a traffic stop.
“I swear to God, that’s bird doo-doo,” Werts told the deputy.
“I swear to God, it’s not,” Browder responded. “I just tested it and it turned pink.”
The charges against the then-21-year-old were dropped by local prosecutors, even before laboratory tests revealed the substance collected from Werts’ car was, in fact, bird poop.
“Upon a thorough review of the report, the dash camera, and the body camera, (we) made the decision that the charge should be appropriately dismissed,” said Rick Hubbard, solicitor for the state’s 11th judicial circuit. “The charge lacks prosecutorial merit and the evidence is insufficient for the state to proceed.”
The report by WRDW revealed Browder was allowed to resign his previous position at the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, even after the agency found him guilty of conduct unbecoming of an officer.
According to Browder’s personnel file, the deputy met an underage girl through his job and sent her “provocative”messages over Facebook and Snapchat, including a shirtless photo of himself. He also encouraged the juvenile to sneak out of her house and meet him, according to the report.
During the internal investigation, Browder voluntarily turned over his personal cellphone as evidence, according to personnel records obtained by the news station. While going through his apps and messages, his supervisors learned he routinely sent sexually-charged texts and photos to an adult woman while on duty. Those photos included a lewd photo he sent of himself while wearing his Lexington County deputy’s uniform, according to the report.
He also admitted meeting with the woman for sex while on-duty, including once on the side of the road, records show.
When interviewed for the investigation, Browder “couldn’t recall” how many times he engaged in sexual activity on the job or when it happened last, authorities wrote.
WRDW reported that Browder was also accused of berating a woman while responding to a domestic situation at her Lexington County home, allegedly telling her, “That’s why I have a (expletive) job, because of people like you ... This is my third domestic for the day and I have only been on 2.5 hours.”
In a December 2019 letter sent to Saluda County’s sheriff the month before Browder’s resignation, the solicitor informed him that he would not prosecute any cases that Browder was involved in, the news station reported.
“It is my opinion ... that such behavior reflects directly upon Deputy Browder’s ethics, integrity and honestly as a law enforcement officer,” Hubbard wrote. “I further consider this evidence as exculpatory, impeachable and as adversely affecting his credibility to testify under oath. As such, my office cannot and will not prosecute any case that may require Deputy Browder’s testimony in the prosecution of criminal charges.”