GREENVILLE, N.C. – Two Robeson County Sheriff’s deputies gave badges, patrol car lights and a siren to two men who drove over the border to South Carolina, where they pulled a man over, robbed him and shot him in the face, Clifton Blackstock claims in Federal Court. The shooting was one in a string of abuses for which Deputies Patrick Ferguson and Vincent Sinclair pleaded guilty to in a federal criminal probe.
The county’s sheriff at the time, Glenn Maynor, is also serving a federal sentence on corruption charges. The corruption scandal made headlines in the Carolinas and was extensively covered in the Raleigh News & Observer and other newspapers.
The deputies were on the county’s drug task force. But a federal probe dubbed “Operation Tarnished Badge” ended with 20 former officers facing a host of corruption charges, including the two deputies named in this suit.
Blackstock’s attorney says Ferguson and Sinclair pleaded guilty two years ago and each was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison.
According to the complaint: “During the years of their service as members on the Drug Enforcement Team of the Robeson County Sheriff Department, Defendants Patrick Ferguson and Vincent Sinclair engaged in a continuing criminal enterprise of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and robbing and kidnapping individuals within and outside of Robeson County.
“Defendant Vincent Sinclair kidnapped an individual known only as John Doe and
collected a ransom of $150,000 and two to three kilograms of cocaine. Defendant Vincent Sinclair used a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.”
Blackstock survived his shooting, but his attorney Reginald Alston says Blackstock still has cognitive and motor-skill problems.
Blackstock’s complaint does not state what the deputies stole from him and his attorney would not comment on that. But the defendant deputies have pleaded guilty to stealing drugs and cash from drug dealers, according to media reports.
Alston placed the blame higher than these two deputies. He also sued former Sheriff Maynor, current Sheriff Kenneth Sealey, Robeson County itself and Western Surety Insurance Company, the county’s insurer.
“Somebody should have done something earlier than this,” Alston said. “The sheriff should have done something; the county should have done something earlier.”
Robeson County’s attorney did not return calls for comment Wednesday.