RICHLAND COUNTY, SC – A former Richland County sheriff’s deputy who was fired after writing a racial slur on someone’s poster while he was on a call has pleaded guilty and can no longer work in law enforcement.
Kaleb Broome pleaded guilty to malicious injury to private property, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday morning. The charge stemmed from a 2016 incident in which Broome, then a deputy with the sheriff’s department, wrote a slur on a poster in a victim’s garage while he was on a call.
As part of his plea, Broome relinquished his right to a South Carolina law enforcement certification, Deputy Cynthia Roldán said Tuesday. The agreement will be saved at the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy as a safeguard to make sure it remains on file.
The academy also will save it to the national law enforcement decertification database, effectively barring Broome from working in law enforcement at any agency in the United States, Roldán said.
A charge of misconduct in office was thrown out, and a judge sentenced Broome to time served for the malicious injury to property charge, according to online Richland County court records.
Broome responded to reports of a domestic dispute at a home on North Kings Way on Feb. 23, 2016, according to Roldán. During the response, Broome blocked letters of the word “Nigeria” by circling the word on a poster of Africa, turning into a racial slur.
Sheriff Leon Lott said during a news conference announcing Broome’s firing that the deputy “tarnished the badge that we wear.” Broome also committed theft when he stole double-sided tape from the victim, which was worth less than 10 cents.
“Kaleb Broome’s actions proved that he did not deserve to wear a badge — ever,” Lott said in Tuesday’s statement. “Hopefully, this guilty plea will ease the concerns of any Richland County or South Carolina citizen that he will never patrol our streets again.”
A fellow deputy who witnessed Broome’s actions reported it to supreriors. Long after the incident happened, Lott said, he learned that the deputy quietly purchased a new poster to replace the one defaced by Broome.
“Not only did the deputy have the courage to report the distressing actions of his partner, he took the extra step to repair the damage his partner caused,” the sheriff said. “It’s deputies like him who make me proud of this department.”