WALHALLA, S.C. (WSPA) – An Oconee County man was beaten during an arrest by a Walhalla police officer, according to state investigators. That officer is now charged with assault, but it is the family connection between them that is raising some questions.
With bruises and scrapes still fresh, Matthew Lowell said he was never resisting arrest the night he was taken in by the Walhalla Police Department. Instead, he said the arresting officers got rough. He said one flicked Lowell’s unlit cigarette out of his mouth.
“The other officer pulled me down. [He] slammed me down [and] he hit me like six times,” said Lowell.
That officer, according to the state law enforcement division, is Zachary Covington. He’s accused of hitting Lowell in the head 3 times and it was all caught on dash cam.
Lowell said SLED investigators visited him in jail.
“They said they watched the tapes and 15 minutes later they told me he was being arrested,” said Lowell.
Both Lowell and Covington are now out on bond. It wasn’t until Lowell left jail Tuesday, on his way to the hospital, that he made an unsettling connection.
“Did you ever run into this officer before,” asked WSPA 7 On Your Side reporter, Addie Hampton. “Never,” said Lowell. “But you know his brother?” asked Hampton. “I know his brother,” Lowell confirmed.
That brother is former Seneca Police Department Reserve Officer, Adam Covington. He was arrested last year for stealing Hydrocodone pills from the law enforcement center. He later pleaded guilty and was given a 3-year suspended sentence.
Lowell said he used to sell drugs to Adam.
“He used to come when he worked at Salem. He used to buy drugs. SLED actually came and investigated that,” said Lowell.
It’s all documented in the SLED report on Adam Covington. Lowell was interviewed by them and, at one point, they wanted him to wear a wire and help them catch Covington in the act.
“They came and asked me if I would go in and try to sell him whatever they were bringing me,” said Lowell.
They never made the sell, but, now, Lowell wonders if he was retaliated against.
“Something’s going on and for that family to be one son to the next son. Something’s not right,” said Lowell.
Lowell took another step up into the family tree by bringing in the brother’s father, Seneca Police Chief John Covington. He’s in the middle of lawsuits and investigation after one of his officers shot and killed Zachary Hammond, an unarmed teen, during a drug sting this summer. The Hammond investigation is still on-going.