BAD: Former SC Trooper Pleads Guilty - Columbia, SC

This is a discussion on BAD: Former SC Trooper Pleads Guilty - Columbia, SC within the In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Ex-SC trooper caught kicking suspect pleads guilty - Yahoo! News COLUMBIA, S.C. – A former South Carolina trooper caught on video kicking a suspect in ...

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Thread: BAD: Former SC Trooper Pleads Guilty - Columbia, SC

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array CT-Mike's Avatar
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    BAD: Former SC Trooper Pleads Guilty - Columbia, SC

    Ex-SC trooper caught kicking suspect pleads guilty - Yahoo! News

    COLUMBIA, S.C. – A former South Carolina trooper caught on video kicking a suspect in the head after a highway chase pleaded guilty Monday to violating the man's civil rights, according to federal court documents.

    John B. Sawyer faces up to 10 years in prison. A few months earlier, a jury acquitted another trooper of the same charge, depriving a man of his right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a police officer, in a different incident also captured on video.

    The videos were among several the South Carolina Department of Public Safety released last year showing troopers acting aggressively. The videos were made public in response to media requests.

    Sawyer was indicted in July after the state released a May 2006 video that showed him kicking Sergio Caridi in the head several times. Caridi, who is from New York, had led troopers and sheriff's deputies on a 30-mile chase on Interstate 95 in a dump truck.

    Officers shot out several of the truck's tires before it stopped. In the video, Caridi is seen getting out of the vehicle with his hands up and lying on the ground before Sawyer kicks him in the head. Caridi appears to try to get up, and Sawyer kicks him again.

    Another officer used a Taser on Caridi before he was eventually taken to jail, according to disciplinary records.

    "The driver got out of his vehicle on his hands and knees but would not listen to commands because he kept getting up," Sawyer wrote in a report about the incident. "I attempted to keep him on the ground by hitting his arms with my leg but he continued."

    After the taped incident, Sawyer was placed on administrative leave and resigned several months later.

    Messages left for his attorneys were not immediately returned.

    Caridi has filed a federal lawsuit accusing Sawyer of using "brutal and excessive force," violating his civil rights, negligence and emotional distress. The lawsuit also accuses the state Department of Public Safety of negligence in training and supervising Sawyer.

    Caridi's attorney, James McBratney, hadn't had a chance to tell his client about the guilty plea but said it will likely help the civil case.

    Mark Keel, who became Department of Public Safety director after the videos came to light, said Sawyer's plea shows the justice system works, according to agency spokesman Sid Gaulden.

    "Everyone in law enforcement knows full well punishment cannot be exacted on the side of the road when an individual is on the ground and being handcuffed," Gaulden said.

    Authorities began investigating the Highway Patrol in March after tapes emerged of a trooper using a racial epithet. The chiefs of the Highway Patrol and Department of Public Safety resigned amid criticism from black lawmakers.

    In October, a federal jury acquitted another South Carolina trooper of the charge faced by Sawyer. Lance Cpl. Steve Garren, who is white, had bragged about striking a fleeing black suspect with his cruiser. Garren insisted during his four-day trial that the crash was an accident and he did not have enough time to react when the sprinting Marvin Grant cut in front of his patrol car on a dark, rural road in 2007.

    U.S. Attorney Walt Wilkins said a civil rights task force started in the wake of the incidents will continue to investigate similar allegations. Cases involving officers are among the most difficult, he said.

    "We want to make sure that nobody's civil rights are violated and officers are performing their job under the constitutional standards," Wilkins said. "However, we do not want to put them in the position where they cannot perform their jobs for fear of a criminal prosecutions. It's a delicate balance."
    I can see how Sawyer's adrenaline was racing and emotions were high, but if the scumbag was actually out of the vehicle and face down on the pavement [as reported - who knows if its true], then there is absolutely no need to kick him in the head. He may deserve to be kicked in the head repeatedly, but it doesn't seem like it was necessary in this case.

    I will look for the video to post.
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  3. #2
    Distinguished Member Array CT-Mike's Avatar
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    "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground."

    - Thomas Jefferson

    "I'm the arrow, you're my bow, shoot me forth and I will go"

    "Do not let any individual posts put a knot in your Big Boy Under-Roos"

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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Yeah...the video is pretty clear. Wow!

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    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    *shrug* The video was also 'pretty clear' in the Rodney King case...except that all four officers were acquitted there. Video ain't all it's cracked up to be.

    That said, the guy plead guilty, so there you have it.
    “What is a moderate interpretation of [the Constitution]? Halfway between what it says and [...] what you want it to say?” —Justice Antonin Scalia

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kazzaerexys View Post
    *shrug* The video was also 'pretty clear' in the Rodney King case.
    Some claimed that, yet with RK he kept trying to get up.

    In this case, the first contact by any officers was a flying kick to the head while the man was down and not attempting to get up. If it's this first couple of kicks that's being pointed out, it looks fairly clear.
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    Member Array Swamp Dog's Avatar
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    That kick will be the best thing that ever happened that dude.

    He'll get a large pay day from the great state of SC.

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    VIP Member Array stormbringerr's Avatar
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    the first cop to get to the driver ran up to him and kicked him in the head.
    he obviously lost control of himself and is now in trouble.he needs more training and a phsych evaluation.
    he could easily have really hurt the driver. no excuse for what he did. you cant let emotions override your reason.
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    Senior Member Array rolyat63's Avatar
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    Don't know if it's the same LEO but once he ws in cuffs he got kicked again.
    rolyat63
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    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    In the case of RK though he was non-compliant and combative from the start in addition to resisting arrest and assault of IIRC two arresting police officers.
    The problem with RK that people had was excessive fore toward restraint beyond levels necessary to actually restrain him and as he had come to tire and ultimately be restrained. The police there kept on beating him even after he stopped resisting and was cuffed up.

    This guy here is none of that.
    From the point he exits the truck he is willfully and actively compliant.
    The first officer kicking him was totally uncalled for, excessive, and he should be penalized. The other secondary officers acted properly.

    - Janq
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    VIP Member Array mlr1m's Avatar
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    "The videos were among several the South Carolina Department of Public Safety released last year showing troopers acting aggressively. The videos were made public in response to media requests."

    When athorities first became aware that they had taped evidence of a crime did they take the same actions they would have if it was not an officer? In my opinion this evidence should have been handled the same as if it were a gang beating.
    Were charges filed only after the public outcry? Were they forced to take action?

    Michael

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    Senior Member Array TheGreatGonzo's Avatar
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    Obviously this former Trooper was in the wrong line of work. Perhaps he can learn a new trade in prison? Sounds like he got what he deserved.
    Gonzo
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    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janq View Post
    In the case of RK though he was non-compliant and combative [...] This guy here is none of that.
    I can't watch video at work, so I have not seen this one yet. Indeed, my comment about the plea was basically my assumption that the cop himself believes he screwed up. I am not attempting to defend his actions.

    I was mainly just trying to shine a little skeptical light on the assumption that video is the end-all of proof. Video shows what it shows---from one point of view, from the time the recording started to the time the recording stopped---and I brought up King merely to say that what the public at large saw on that video suggested a very different conclusion than did the full weight of evidence at trial.
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    There's no doubt the trooper lost control. To run up and kick someone in the head who is laying face down on the ground is not only dangerous, but stupid. I'm sure he will have several years behind bars to reflect on his actions.

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    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Got ya Kaz, and I had not thought you might be supporting the cop toward head kickery.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

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    Senior Member Array rolyat63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janq View Post
    In the case of RK though he was non-compliant and combative from the start in addition to resisting arrest and assault of IIRC two arresting police officers.
    The problem with RK that people had was excessive fore toward restraint beyond levels necessary to actually restrain him and as he had come to tire and ultimately be restrained. The police there kept on beating him even after he stopped resisting and was cuffed up.

    This guy here is none of that.
    From the point he exits the truck he is willfully and actively compliant.
    The first officer kicking him was totally uncalled for, excessive, and he should be penalized. The other secondary officers acted properly.

    - Janq
    This last statement made me think what obligations LEOs have when they recognize one of their own breaking the law. I realize in the heat of the moment and the pack mentality but it seems if you witness someone so violently and obviously violate someones right to not get the crap beat out of them you would have some obligation to act. Many have mentioned that until there was public outcry the story did not get any press. It just seems with corporate goverance, sarbanes-oxley[sic], ethics training, and every other form of PC laws out there that there would be some rules and training for officers to recognize and react to issues. Are there such policies?
    rolyat63
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