Remember the old phrase, “serve and protect”? To many, that statement means that whoever has that plastered over the side of their patrol cars would actually be required to serve and protect. The United States Supreme Court ruled in a controversial case that police officers are not required to protect anyone and this lack of protection doesn’t violate anything within the confines of the United States constitution.
“In the 1989 landmark case of DeShaney v. Winnebago County Department of Social Services, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the failure by government workers to protect someone (even 4-year-old Joshua DeShaney) from physical violence or harm from another person (his father) did not breach any substantive constitutional duty.”Barnes Law
Reading those words can be difficult for some and especially when it comes to the acceptance part.
Police are not required by the constitution to protect you.
Then what is it that police officers do?
Unfortunately, not all police officers are up to charitable donations and heroic rescues. You’ll be forgiven if you believe some of the people who wear badges in the state of South Carolina are worse than the criminals they are supposed to chase.
If anyone has any doubts to this claim they need only review the curious case of former Columbia Police Department Chief Randy Scott. This man was a police chief who was arrested, charged and convicted on several charges ranging from gun charges to drug-related offenses. If this is the quality of the chief of police for the capital of the entire state then one has to wonder of the quality of at least some of the officers running around South Carolina.
If we were to look at some of the bad police officers that have appeared in this state and all the controversy that has been caused as a result of it there is no room for debate that reforms are desperately needed.
We can just go through a timeline and see if bad decisions were potentially a result of poor leadership.
The Shooting of Walter Scott
This story is a sore one for many in North Charleston, South Carolina. Walter Scott was a man whose only criminal record was failure to pay child support. Michael Slager, the cop who gunned down Mr. Scott, was convicted of his crimes and sentenced to prison.
The Shooting of Levar Jones
This story is one that isn’t spoken about much anymore. Levar Jones was stopped by former South Carolina state trooper Sean Groubert. As the video shows when Mr. Jones informed the former trooper he would reach for his wallet Sean Groubert started shooting at Mr. Jones. When Mr. Jones was struck by a bullet he shouted, “Why did you shoot me?” Mr. Groubert’s response was, “I don’t know.” That response is a reflection of poor leadership. Mr. Groubert was arrested, charged and convicted and sent to prison. Mr. Jones had to be traumatized and shot due to a seatbelt violation.
Yes, you read that correctly. If a cop got fired for misconduct they could simply go work for another department in the same exact state. That’s how things used to be ran here in South Carolina until 2018 when the South Carolina general assembly finally decided that enough was enough. It took all the way until 2018 for this to happen which can reveal how someone like former police chief Randy Scott was able to operate despite his less than savory character.
Civil forfeiture has been a hot button issue in South Carolina. This is especially true given the lawsuit that the Spartanburg county sheriff’s department is facing.
The suit alleges that police officers swarm areas to collect cash and property on I-85, I-20 and various other roadways. Many of those people who had their money, possessions and, in some cases, their vehicle taken were not arrested for any crime before or even after the police encounter.
So, if you want to know what some police officers are up to if they aren’t required to protect you then you now know. Some smoke dope, others shoot people for no reason or some are essentially road pirates with the authority to operate in whatever criminal fashion possible.