South Carolina Prosecution Group Recommends Law Carrying up to 20-Year Prison Term For Excessive Police Force

A group of South Carolina authorities on Monday suggested that the state create new laws on police uses of force, criminal penalties for officers who run afoul of the guidelines and a unit in charge of prosecuting them.

The S.C. Commission on Prosecution Coordination unanimously approved four recommendations for legislation that would address lingering disagreements about how police shootings and other allegations of misconduct are handled in the Palmetto State.

Perhaps most notably, the commission suggested that the General Assembly come up with a new crime punishable by up 20 years in prison for officers who unlawfully use deadly force.

Made up of elected solicitors, court officials and law enforcement leaders, the commission issued the findings after a months-long study of issues central to a nationwide discussion about law enforcement. Much of that talk emerged during the two years since an eyewitness video captured a North Charleston police officer fatally shooting Walter Scott.

Commission Chairman Duffie Stone said he hoped that some, if not all, of the suggestions will be implemented by lawmakers in the upcoming session that starts in January. The law on excessive police force, for example, would come with many benefits, he said.

“It gives officers a better idea of their responsibility,” said Stone, solicitor for the 14th Circuit in the Bluffton area. “It gives prosecutors a clearer understanding of the law. It gives the public a sense of understanding as well.”

Funding, though, is expected to remain a hurdle for many of the recommendations, which are:

Bring South Carolina in line with 41 other states that have laws laying out when police can use deadly force. This will help guide police decision-making and give prosecutors a specific charge to pursue when an officers’ actions might not fit a current criminal offense, such as murder. Violations could carry up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. Such a statute could mirror a Utah law that includes a standard that the U.S. Supreme Court devised in the landmark Tennessee v. Garner civil case, which said officers couldn’t use deadly force to prevent escape unless the fleeing suspect poses a serious threat to others.

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 3206 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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