Three years ago, Columbia County deputies were summoned to a Wheeler Road home on a report that a woman was being assaulted by her boyfriend.
The report says the deputies found the woman intoxicated, but also discovered that the boyfriend, Wade Cliett, was a fellow deputy.
After discussing the situation with the two, the investigating officers concluded the accusations are unsubstantiated and unfounded.
But shortly after the incident, Cliett was fired. He later landed a job with the Lincolnton Police and Fire Department.
Last week, Columbia County deputies were again called again to Clietts Martinez residence. This time, police say Cliett had punched the same woman in the mouth, knocking several teeth out. Cliett is charged with battery.
So heres an important question: Did the cops let Cliett off without an arrest the first time because he was a fellow deputy? If not, why was Cliett fired even though he wasnt charged?
The answer should be reassuring. Sheriff Clay Whittle points out that in the May 2000 case, it was pretty clear that the live-in girlfriend was intoxicated and hadnt been assaulted. However, Cliett had thrown his police weapon to her during an argument, and had allowed her to drive even though an on-scene test showed she was legally drunk.
Cliett hadnt broken any law, but had made terrible decisions. If he shows that kind of poor judgment, I dont need him as an officer, Whittle says. I dont need any problems like that around here.
So Cliett was fired. And now he seems to have squandered a second chance to salvage his career.
Its important to note that domestic violence cases have steadily fallen in Columbia County, dropping by 24.2 percent last year. Much of that decrease is because men who beat up women go to jail - even if they are cops.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.