Police dash cam:Oct 19/07:Raw video provided by the S.C. Department of Public Safety shows an Oct. 19, 2007, incident in which a woman was handcuffed to the bumper of a patrol car.
Newly released videos from the S.C. Highway Patrol show state troopers physically abusing motorists and engaging in other misconduct — but also portray troopers performing courageously in gun battles and car chases.
The State newspaper on Friday obtained dashboard videos, internal affairs reports and other documents related to 18 incidents from 2003 through last year under the S.C. Freedom of Information Act.
The S.C. Department of Public Safety also provided dozens of pages of documents — though no videos — in 10 other pending or closed matters.
Several dramatic videos in which troopers were exonerated depict them returning fire at suspects who fired at them first, or shooting out the tires of a suspect’s car to end a chase.
In several cases, troopers were found to have acted within department policy — and to have saved lives.
But the newspaper’s review of the material — all of which has been turned over to a special Senate panel investigating the Highway Patrol — also found that:
• Troopers’ discipline ranged from letters of reprimand to firing in eight cases caught on videos, and exoneration in seven others. In three incidents caught on video, outcomes were unknown or pending.
• Questions were raised in separate, unrelated cases not captured on tape, about the actions of two state lawmakers.
• Three troopers were arrested on misconduct charges — one was charged with kicking a handcuffed teenager after a high-speed chase, and two others were accused of stealing money from mainly Hispanic motorists.
The trooper charged with assaulting the teenager told The State on Friday that he was suffering from stress stemming from an earlier shooting in which he had been cleared.
• In three cases, troopers were disciplined for altering tapes or deliberately not recording their misdeeds.
“We had no idea it was this much out of control,” said Rep. Leon Howard, D-Richland, chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus. “This thing is much wider and broader than what we had anticipated.”
A spokesman said Gov. Mark Sanford couldn’t comment on specifics on the latest videos because his office is still reviewing them.
“By and large, all the men and women of the state Highway Patrol are doing a great job every day,” Joel Sawyer said. “The troopers who are doing their job want those who aren’t doing their job dealt with.” Marked as: Mature
|Liveleak on Facebook|