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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tasered While Black in South Carolina, Black People Being Tased Excessively in the Carolinas'

Tasered While Black, Publisher says: Where is the outrage? It is a damn shame that black folks young and old are getting tasered to death in high numbers. Yes, black folks are holding folks accountable. Check this out, the SC Public Safety, Highway Patrol chiefs resigned amid racism claims. Now we learn that some State Police/Trooper organizations use Tasers more often on African-Americans. Surprise, surprise! Is there any doubt that Taser use is excessive in black communities?

There is more. As reported by Gina Smith and Wayne Washington, "A December 2004 video sank two of South Carolina’s highest-ranking law enforcement officials because black lawmakers and the state NAACP kept pushing for the most convincing evidence to prove black motorists were being mistreated. Department of Public Safety Director Jim Schweitzer and Highway Patrol Col. Russell Roark, under pressure from Gov. Mark Sanford, resigned their posts Friday after release of the video. The video shows a trooper threatening to kill a suspect and using a racial slur during a 2004 traffic stop in Greenwood.

About 2½ years ago, Lonnie Randolph, president of the state NAACP, began hearing rumors that on several occasions, Highway Patrol troopers used racial slurs during traffic stops involving black motorists. “But we didn’t know the details. We didn’t know when the incidents had taken place,” Randolph said.

That’s when Randolph and others went to work, trying to track down details.

They eventually found someone who could corroborate rumors they had heard about the Greenwood incident. In that case, the trooper found a handgun and illegal drugs in a vehicle during a traffic stop. When one of the passengers fled, the trooper used the slur and made the threat. That officer was ordered to anger management and sensitivity training, but kept his job.

Randolph shared his information with friend Rep. Leon Howard, a Richland County Democrat and chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus. It was fodder for the case members of the caucus gradually have been building against the Department of Public Safety for about two years.

They had heard rumors of racial profiling during traffic stops. The caucus also had received complaints from black troopers and from white troopers about disparities in the way they were promoted and disciplined. Concerns brought to officials at the Department of Public Safety had gone nowhere, Howard said. “At no point in time could we get any cooperation from Schweitzer or Roark,” Howard said. “So we had no choice but to wait for the right moment.” That right moment came last month when Schweitzer, Roark’s boss, was up for a second term to head the Department of Public Safety. The caucus held up the legislative approval needed. Then they obtained a copy of the video. When it arrived, they knew they had something explosive.

Howard showed Sanford that video along with two others. One showed a black woman handcuffed to the bumper of a patrol car, and the other showed a state trooper using a Taser on a black motorist." Read More HERE

That is not all, Channel 7 News reports more video is out from Highway Patrol and black lawmakers say it's evidence of abuse of power. Video obtained by News Channel 7 shows a 24 year old African American woman tased by a white Highway Patrol Officer. The agency tased 17 drivers since last fall and 11 of them were African American.News Channel 7 spoke with Representative Gilda Cobb-Hunter who says the numbers do show a trend of abuse of African Americans. But a USC law enforcement expert says the number of taser incidents is too small to provide context.

More Carolina tasing, this was deadly. A Black Teenager Was Tased to Death For Wearing Gold Teeth and Earrings at Work?

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