Holly Springs chief addresses coroner altercation
by Erin Dentmon
November 07, 2012 12:46 AM | 5071 views | 2 2 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cherokee County Assistant Coroner Tommy Pinyan went to the hospital to be checked for injuries after a physical incident with an officer with the Holly Springs Police Department responding to a call about a death Saturday afternoon.

Holly Springs Police Chief Ken Ball did not name the officer involved. He said the officer is on paid leave while an internal investigation continues.

“I think we’ve gotten to the bottom of most of it. It was a misunderstanding, and a problem in training on our part,” Ball said.

County Coroner Earl Darby confirmed that Pinyan went to the hospital to be checked out for injuries, but he declined to comment further on the matter while it is still being investigated.

Officer Shane Ladner and Sgt. Brian Cain from the Holly Springs Police Department were called to a death on Cedarwood Drive around 2:45 p.m., according to an incident report provided by the department.

Two detectives were later called to the scene, Ball said.

Ball said the death the officers were originally called to is not being treated as suspicious.

Under state law, any time there is a death at a residence that is not under hospice care the coroner must be called to the scene, Darby said.

“The coroner is a medical, legal person whose job it is to examine the body,” Darby said.

The funeral home handling the body then creates a death certificate which is signed by the coroner once cause of death is determined.

Darby took office in 1993. He has two assistant coroners, Pinyan and Chuck Foster.

Pinyan has worked for Darby since 2006.

“We have been doing this for 20 years and this is the first time we have had this type of altercation,” Darby said Tuesday.
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Nancy C.
November 07, 2012
This happened at a member of my family's home on Saturday approximately two hours after they learned of the sudden death of their daughter. Tommy Pinyan arrived to do his JOB and pronounce the death. After hearing him introduce himself TWICE as the Cherokee County Deputy Coroner as he tried to enter the yard family members and a few close friends had to witness this Holly Springs Police Officer physically throw Mr. Pinyan down on the sidewalk and then push him back with both hands when he tried to get to get up. A Captain from the police department had to be called to come out before he was ALLOWED to enter the "Crime Scene", as these officers called it, and do what should have been done as soon as he arrived. I am very curious as to how long these officers have been with this police department??? The tragedy of unexpected death where the coroner has to be called to investigate is not a new thing and the procedure of how it's handled has not been changed. You would think that someone that had been with a department long enough to be promoted to Sgt. would be familiar with the protocol. I, personally, do not buy Chief Ken Ball's explanation of "a misunderstanding and problem with training on their part" unless he is talking about the training of these officers to be less arrogant and a little more compassionate. This was truly the most utter display of disrespect I have ever witnessed not only to Mr. Pinyan but the family as well!!! The only person from the Holly Springs Police Department that I saw show any kind of sympathy or compassion was the Detective. I do not remember his name but would like to thank him for his apology and his kindness.
Steve M
November 07, 2012
Boy, those Holly Springs officers are doing a great job of "tackling" crime. Those pesky coroners are so dangerous! Ever seen "Quincy M.E."?
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