South Carolina Police and Race: Trooper Works for Conservative Governor Sanford
South Carolinians are embarrassed once again by the actions of local police departments. Three police “dash cams” have surfaced recently that shows police using excessive force and racial slurs toward black motorists. Two of the videos actually show and officer tracking down a suspect, through an apartment complex, with is police cruiser. Later the same officer hits the suspect with his vehicle.
Conservative Governor Mark Sanford has taken a tough stand on racial violence by police and came out in favor of termination of officers who use racially motivated brutality. So why is one of these officers on his security detail?
Patrol and race:
White trooper seen hitting black motorist now works for governor
A white trooper seen on a squad-car video repeatedly striking a black motorist in 2006 now is on the security detail of Gov. Mark Sanford — who has said another trooper who used a racial slur against a black motorist should have been fired.
The trooper, Lance Cpl. E.J. Burton, was ordered to undergo counseling — but received no other discipline following the incident, according to records obtained by The State newspaper under the S.C. Freedom of Information Act.
The Burton video was one of three the Department of Public Safety released Monday in response to The State’s FOIA request. They show separate incidents in 2006 in which troopers were investigated to ascertain whether they used excessive force against motorists after vehicle pursuits.
Two of the incidents involved white troopers and black passengers who were not arrested. The other involved a white trooper and white driver charged with leading police on a long-distance, high-speed chase.
Sanford “was concerned to learn today” about Burton’s record and will ask that he be reassigned, spokesman Ben Fox said Monday, pointing out that the governor does not put together his own security detail.
U.S. Attorney General and Department of Justice Investigating
The U.S. Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division are investigating the South Carolina Highway Patrol. In series of videos, dash-board cameras have recorded South Carolina police officers intentionally hitting black suspects with cars and using racial slurs in their pursuit.
“I nailed the @#$% out of him. He went flying up into the air,” said officer Steven Garren getting out of his car last June, “Yeah, I hit him I was trying to hit him.” Garren was only given a three day suspension, which he is currently appealing.
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