Archive for Thursday, March 20, 2008

S.C. troopers ram suspects with cars

March 20, 2008


— Videos have surfaced showing two members of the South Carolina Highway Patrol using their cruisers to ram fleeing suspects, just weeks after two leaders of the agency resigned because of a furor over a trooper's use of a racial slur.

In one of the two new dash-cam videos, which were first reported Wednesday by The Post and Courier of Charleston, Lance Cpl. Steven C. Garren drives after a man on foot, striking him when he crosses in front of Garren's cruiser. The man flips over the car's hood and into high grass on the roadside.

"Yeah, I hit him. I was trying to hit him," Garren, who is white, can be heard telling another trooper.

In the other, Lance Cpl. Alexander Richardson, who is black, drives between apartment buildings, on sidewalks and past onlookers in an attempt to run down a suspect. After about a minute, Richardson's car bumps the man, who grabs the vehicle in an attempt to steady himself. The man doesn't fall and takes off running again.

The suspects in both of the new videos are black.

Sid Gaulden, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, said neither trooper was available for comment. A message left at a number for an Alexander Richardson was not immediately returned. Garren did not have a listed phone number.

The videos depicted isolated events, and the troopers involved had been punished, Gaulden said.

Garren received a three-day suspension, which he has appealed. Richardson was reprimanded and completed a stress management course, disciplinary records show.


akt2 9 years, 9 months ago

When a state trooper says stop, you better stop. If you decide otherwise too bad for you. Innocent people don't run like jackals thru the streets and neighborhoods.

hawklet21 9 years, 9 months ago

Sweet rhymes le! :-P Note to self... Don't run from the cops in South Carolina.

pisafromthewest 9 years, 9 months ago

logicsound04 (Anonymous) says:

"I guess these troopers would have been justified in pulling their firearms and shooting these suspects in the leg then, correct?"

Well, since the press (oddly enough) didn't bother telling us any details like what the suspects were being chased for, or whether they were armed, or any of the circumstances about how the chase began, I guess we don't know.

But don't let that stop you from jumping to your usual conslusions and calling for their heads.

Suppose trooper Garren observed his suspect shooting at a crowd of people, ran off still carrying the gun in his hand, which he pointed at the trooper's car, and was headed in the direction of a school or playground? I suppose you still want him "charged with assault with a deadly weapon?"

Now, do we know these were the circumstances? No, except for logicsound who apparently was traveling through SC on both of these occasions and was a witness. But then we wouldn't know when the press doesn't tell us, and they won't, since to the media (and logicsound) the alleged perpetrator is always innocent and the police are always guilty.

acg 9 years, 9 months ago

Thanks, logic. I was actually ready to be incensed at these cops for hitting these guys with their cars, but you made a good point. Since I don't know why the cops did it, there's really no reason to get bent all out of shape yet. If they hit these guys for no good reason, there should be a definite reprimand. If they were chasing serious criminals, then they should've stopped and backed back over them. Personally, I'm getting tired of robbing, raping and murdering thugs.

pisafromthewest 9 years, 9 months ago

acg (Anonymous) says:

"Thanks, logic. I was actually ready to be incensed at these cops for hitting these guys with their cars, but you made a good point."

logic was the one who said they should charge the trooper with assault. I was the one who pointed out we don't have enough information to jump to that conclusion.

acg 9 years, 9 months ago

Oh sorry I guess that was pisa, wasn't it. Attributed my remarks to the wrong dude. Sorry dudes.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 9 years, 9 months ago

"Innocent people don't run like jackals thru the streets and neighborhoods."

This is the problem: in some families, the cops are the "bad guys", which means kids grow up with the idea that it's best to run. So, if FEAR is what you know, you run. Its like someone with a dog phobia: it may not be rational that they run. Not everyone running from the cops has committed a crime. They may have simply bought into the stories they were told growing up. Are you a better person for EVERYTHING you were told growing up? Probably not. Most of us have learned some bad habits from our parents and communities. Bad habits are not a reason to get run over. I understand a cop tackling me if I run, but that's not the same as a car on my head. Should cops shoot everyone who runs? If your teen - doing nothing wrong - got shot for running from a cop, would you be "OK" with that?

So many of these comments reek of racism and a lack of understanding. If you had any idea of what its like to grow up around crime, you'd think before posting that junk.

timetospeakup 9 years, 9 months ago

Bowhunter: "If a law enforcement officer prompts you to stop and you don't: You are breaking the law."

Not strictly true, you only have to obey lawful orders. If the officer orders you to stop and it's not safe to do so, you don't have to stop. Granted, that doesn't apply here but don't speak in absolutes, it's ignorant.

pisafromthewest 9 years, 9 months ago

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pisafromthewest 9 years, 9 months ago

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pisafromthewest 9 years, 9 months ago

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pisafromthewest 9 years, 9 months ago

Defenseless, still the whining troll.

You said, and I quote (since your memory is apparently as poor as your IQ), "No one called for their heads, stop being hysterical." logicsound's original comment was "Garren should be charged with assault with a deadly weapon." So either you can't read, you're just flat out lying (as usual), or you're just another whiner who feels you've been persecuted by the police at one time or another so the cops must be wrong.

"I protect my own, I don't expect nor want the police to do it for me, period."

And I'm sure your kids cry themselves to sleep at night, knowing such a sniveling little pansy is the only thing that stands between them and danger.

logicsound04 (Anonymous) says:

"For all we know, each was only guilty of minor infractions"

For all we know they weren't. I never said what the police did was justified, you were the one who had all the answers, enough to charge the trooper with a crime.

"Some people just don't like police."

And slobbersound and his bu__buddy Defenseless are apparently in that category.

It's been fun, children, but I've been advised to stop feeding the trolls for today. You two have fun kissing each other's a__es this afternoon.

pisafromthewest 9 years, 9 months ago

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booklover 9 years, 9 months ago

Ummmm did ANY of you idiots even read the article? The last sentence states that both officers were reprimanded. One was suspended, one was sent to stress management classes. So after a through investigation, by the people who needed to, NOT LJW posters, the officers obviously did something wrong and were punished for it. Jeez, grow up people please.

notajayhawk 9 years, 9 months ago

booklover (Anonymous) says:

"So after a through investigation, by the people who needed to, NOT LJW posters, the officers obviously did something wrong and were punished for it."

Much as I'm loath to jump into the middle of this one, there are a few points I'd like to mention. Mostly I agree with what several other posters have mentioned, that there simply are not enough facts in the story.

Yes, there is no mention in the story that either suspect was armed or that they were observed doing anything life-threatening. One other thing I noticed: There's no mention that either suspect (including the one who flew over the hood) was injured, or that either has filed a lawsuit against the troopers, the PD, or the state.

Yes, the camera does appear to make this look bad. However, cameras, especially fixed single-POV cameras, can not give a complete understanding of events. Unfortunately, many people think they do, so while cameras can be very useful and helpful in reviewing events, they can also be misleading and counter-productive to building that understanding.

More things the story doesn't give us any clue about: Were the suspects known to the troopers involved? Did they have records, records which might have included past histories of violence and weapons violations?

Everything looks so simple in hindsight from the relaxed and safe position of a disconnected film viewer - look a how easy it is to question a referee's call in a basketball game with the benefit of replay. I have several relatives and friends who are police officers, and I can tell you that when you're in the middle of it, it's not always that clear. And they were the ones on the spot, they were the ones who had to make decisions in the heat of the chase.

So they were reprimanded. I can also tell you that such actions are as often taken for political expediency as for cause, especially when the press gets involved and departmental higher-ups and/or political figures go into CYA mentality.

I don't know what all the pertinent facts are in these two cases. And unlike some other posters, I wouldn't presume to know enough to pass judgment based on a few lines in a newspaper from 1000 miles away. In many cases I've seen people who post to these boards insist that you can't make such judgments based on such limited information - when it comes to the suspects. They are entitled to the benefit of the doubt. It just seems wrong to not give public servants the same consideration we do criminals.

notajayhawk 9 years, 9 months ago

And yes, this is why I was loath to enter into this particular discussion. How did I know that 'logic'sound would have to re-assert the fact that only he understands the facts, based on a few paragraphs in a newspaper story? Guess we'd have to review his "entire body of work" on the police to figure out just why he is so biased against them. They have a job people like you can criticize all you want, but wouldn't last an hour trying to perform, 'logic'sound. And all your self-righteous, know-it-all, holier-than-thou, my-stuff-don't-stink attitude doesn't earn you the right to shine the shoes of someone who has to do the job instead of kibbitzing from afar, and hasn't changed the fact that you're so anxious to assume the suspects were blameless and the police were at fault when you really don't know the facts.

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