CHARLESTON, S.C. — A South Carolina attorney found himself on the receiving end of a woman’s fists earlier this month when she stepped in to stop his assault on his girlfriend at a bowling alley, authorities said.
Pano Michael DuPree, 58, of Charleston, is charged with assault and battery in connection with the March 19 incident. Charleston County Jail records show he was booked March 20 and released the same day after posting $1,087 bond.
The Post and Courier reported that two witnesses told police they saw DuPree arrive at Ashley Lanes and begin an argument with his girlfriend. An incident report obtained by the newspaper stated that he grabbed the woman’s hair and placed her in a chokehold from behind.
A female bystander intervened, rushing to the pair and punching DuPree in the face, according to the paper. DuPree was knocked to the ground, pulling out some of his girlfriend’s hair as he fell.
The bystander’s identity has not been made public.
WCBD in Mount Pleasant reported that DuPree was alert and conscious when officers arrived. He was taken to Roper St. Francis Hospital, then to the Medical University of South Carolina to be evaluated by an ophthalmologist.
According to authorities, police officers followed him to the hospital after talking to his girlfriend and the witnesses, the Post and Courier reported. They arrested DuPree on the assault charge.
DuPree’s website states that his practice specializes in the areas of criminal law and personal injury claims.
The incident at the bowling alley was not his first personal brush with the law.
DuPree was suspended from practicing law for nine months in 2013 following a 2012 arrest in which he punched and bit a Utah state trooper who pulled over the car in which he was a passenger. DuPree was vacationing in Park City at the time, according to South Carolina Supreme Court records.
A statement of facts states that DuPree was a passenger in a vehicle pulled over March 22, 2012. As Trooper David Wurtz questioned the driver, DuPree “repeatedly interrupted and told the driver not to answer the trooper’s questions.”
“Respondent told Trooper Wurtz he was a lawyer and that the driver did not have to do what the trooper asked,” the document states.
Wurtz called for backup. As he asked the driver to exit the vehicle, DuPree “became belligerent, repeatedly used profanity and refused to cooperate with the troopers’ requests to calm down.”
Read the court’s order suspending DuPree below.
“When the troopers told respondent to stay in the vehicle, he tried to get out,” the document states. “A few minutes later, when the troopers asked respondent to get out of the vehicle so it could be towed, respondent refused and locked the vehicle doors every time the troopers unlocked the doors. Respondent continued to berate the troopers and call them derogatory names.”
Troopers eventually used a Taser, which malfunctioned. As they forcibly removed DuPree from the car, he punched Wurtz in the mouth.
He also bit the trooper on the arm, drawing blood.
DuPree was charged with assault on a police officer, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and public intoxication. He pleaded guilty to reduced charges that September, and he was sentenced to probation.
During oral arguments on the suspension, DuPree admitted that he’d begun drinking the morning of his arrest and that he “drank to oblivion,” the court stated. The document suggested that DuPree is an alcoholic who was had voluntarily entered rehab to overcome the addiction.
His license to practice law was reinstated in April 2013. He remains an attorney in good standing, according to state records.
The Post and Courier reported that DuPree was also arrested in 2003 after a struggle with Charleston police officers responding to a fight at the Charleston Riverview Hotel. Police reports indicated that DuPree was arguing with his wife when two men intervened.
Police were called to a fight between DuPree and the bystanders.
Charges of disorderly conduct were later dropped.