Monday, March 3, 2008

Racist state trooper videos lead to SC law enforcement shake-up

In local news:

Schweitzer, Rourk out after Sanford views trooper video

Saturday, March 1, 2008
By Tim Smith
CAPITAL BUREAU, Greenville News

COLUMBIA - The director of the state Department of Public Safety and the commander of the Highway Patrol resigned Friday after Gov. Mark Sanford watched a 2004 videotape in which a white trooper yells a racial slur and threatens to kill a black man he is chasing.

"You better run, n-----, because I'm fixing to kill you," the trooper says on the tape released this morning by the state Department of Public Safety after a Freedom of Information request by GreenvilleOnline.

The video is of a traffic stop in or near Greenwood County in December 2004. The man chased by the trooper was one of two black male passengers in the car. The man ran after the trooper asked him to put his hands on the car after the trooper conducted a search of the stopped vehicle.

The trooper, off camera but whose voice is recorded, is later heard bringing the man back to his patrol car and he yells at him to get down. There is the sound of a struggle.

"Why are you beating me?" the man repeatedly asks the trooper, who replies that he was "resisting arrest."

That video and another were of incidents cited recently by the Legislative Black Caucus in complaints about racism at the agency, which houses the Highway Patrol. The caucus has asked Senate leaders to delay confirmation of the agency's director, Jim Schweitzer, for a second term until there is some sign of change at the agency or he addresses their concerns. Schweitzer has said the troopers in both cases were punished but members of the caucus say the troopers received 12-hour suspensions which they feel are too lenient.

The agency also released a video of an October 2007 traffic stop in Clarendon County in which a white trooper handcuffed an African-American woman to the bumper of his car. The video shows that he handcuffed her after he stopped her and then handcuffed her to his bumper for several minutes.

The trooper had earlier stopped the car with another, unlicensed driver, for speeding who fled from the scene, according to the video. By the time the trooper chased the driver, the woman, who was unaware the man had been driving her car, found her car and drove off.

The trooper later had her car towed after explaining to the driver that he wanted to compensate the tow driver who had been called earlier to the scene. He gave her the choice of bringing $150 quickly to pay the tow operator or get her car out of storage later, but changed his mind later when he said she cursed at the tow operator.

Video of SC State trooper using racial slur

Video of SC State trooper handcuffing African-American woman to car

Video of Legislative Black caucus response

2 comments:

BAMBOO BLITZ said...

Instances like this really enrage me! Last year in British Columbia, an RCMP officer was charged for torturing an Aboriginal man arrested for theft. Apparently, he was beaten very severely and dumped in a random location where he had to find his way home. Anyway, thanks for posting these stories...

Daisy said...

Greetings to whoever is googling this story repeatedly down in State Gov in Columbia!