Wednesday, February 27 2013 4:14 PM EST2013-02-27 21:14:27 GMT
A high-ranking state law enforcement officer is out of a job after a middle-of-the-night traffic stop in Columbia. State Department of Public Safety Director Leroy Smith fired his internal affairs chief,More >>
A high-ranking state law enforcement officer is out of a job after a middle-of-the-night traffic stop in Columbia.More >>
Tuesday, August 19 2014 8:46 AM EDT2014-08-19 12:46:09 GMT
Twenty people have been rounded up in a month as part of a crackdown on drugs in Saluda County, according to the sheriff's office.Saluda County Sheriff John Perry said most of those arrested on chargesMore >>
Twenty people have been rounded up in a month as part of a crackdown on drugs in Saluda County, according to the sheriff's office.More >>
Tuesday, August 19 2014 4:10 PM EDT2014-08-19 20:10:07 GMT
The police chief for Gulf Shores along Alabama's coast is weighing-in on the actions of the law enforcement commander in charge of Ferguson, Missouri's in the wake of an escalating crisis brought on byMore >>
Gulf Shores Police Chief Ed Delmore wrote a blistering open letter to Captain Ronald S. Johnson, who was given command of law enforcement operations following days of looting and rioting in the city.More >>
Tuesday, August 19 2014 7:55 PM EDT2014-08-19 23:55:24 GMT
Deep in a mine shaft in the California desert, the body of a pregnant wife of a U.S. Marine was discovered after a search of nearly two months.More >>
A former Marine charged Tuesday with murder after the body of his alleged lover was found in an abandoned California mine shaft had been looking into how to dispose of a human body, a sheriff's investigator said.More >>
Tuesday, August 19 2014 12:19 PM EDT2014-08-19 16:19:09 GMT
A Kansas City police officer is being investigated for his posts on social media, one of which claimed a photo of an Oregon murder suspect was Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old who was shot at leastMore >>
This is not Michael Brown. But a Kansas City Police Department officer may be in hot water for saying it is.More >>
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -
Nearly five years after federal indictments uprooted the South Carolina Highway Patrol's leadership, new evidence is uncovered that a former high-ranking patrol official says shows the problem of racial discrimination still exists.
WIS started investigating complaints of racial discrimination by patrolmen after we uncovered video of the patrol's internal affairs chief from January. In the traffic stop, a trooper cuffed Bobby Collins on suspected DUI, but let him go after the chief passed all the roadside sobriety tests.
It was the information in those cases former the DPS Chief said explains the way he acted during the January traffic stop. Collins, whose job was to investigate every complaint made against DPS law enforcement, said the Highway Patrol problems of old still exist today.
Collins told the trooper he thought the stop was racially motivated. Collins was fired later that day. Collins said he was in the middle of investigating multiple racial profiling cases when he was stopped last month.
"What you are doing to me now is basically what South Carolina has had a bad reputation for through the years," said Collins. "It's a culture here and even when you realize it, you don't have the humility to say, 'You know what? I made a mistake.'"
DPS Director Leroy Smith fired Collins before the close of business the same day of his traffic stop. Smith said it was Collins' conduct during the stop that cost him his job.
Collins said looking back at the traffic stop a month later, he has no regrets.
"The problem is, like I alluded to in the traffic stop, there's a greater problem that exists here in South Carolina and Leroy Smith is aware of the problem. I was attempting to address some of those issues and along the way, I was victimized by the same type of culture that I described and that the patrol was actively addressing."
Collins filed an employment complaint against Smith over his firing.
Collins headed the agency's Office of Professional Responsibility and investigated every complaint that came into DPS. Many of those complaints, Collins said, dealt with racial profiling and discrimination.
Collins said he found signs among those cases that some discriminatory conduct and activity existed in the Highway Patrol.
"That's why I alluded to it as a culture because it's still there," he said.
Collins made several points about that training in his stop, he thinks, was racially motivated.
"These classes were not brought out of the air," said Collins. "It's because of the reviews that we've seen. This is why, it's because of situations like this, you all have an innocent man and a fellow employee handcuffed."
Our investigation of the Collins stop and that subsequent training inside the patrol led us to a traffic stop that happened four months ago in Florence County.
What started as a speeding case, quickly became a felony arrest for Dr. Catherine Newkirk and her husband, Jerome, last October.
Trooper J.B. Enzor stopped the couple's black Escalade in a construction zone and charged her with driving 22 miles an hour over the limit.
But it was the statement Catherine made inside her vehicle that landed her and her husband in jail.
"I did tell him that I believe this was racially motivated, and when I said that, he snatched the ticket back and he told me to step out of the vehicle and I did," said Catherine.
Catherine fought her arrest for several minutes, disputing the officer's grounds for taking her to jail.
"We did nothing wrong," said Catherine.
The trooper charged Catherine with resisting arrest and assaulting him and charged her husband with interfering with the arrest.
The video shows Jerome Newkirk walk to within yards of his wife and the trooper, then get back in his SUV once the trooper told him to.
Catherine Newkirk doesn't apologize for fighting the arrest.
"I was amazed," said Catherine. "A lot of things went through my mind, I couldn't think straight. I was completely amazed, it was almost like it was something right off TV."
James McBratney represents the Newkirks and is currently working on a settlement with the Highway Patrol over this stop. Less than two months after the stop, the Florence County Solicitor dropped the charge, finding what he called no prosecutorial merit.
"No one can view the video and come to any other conclusion other than that there was no merit to go forward with the prosecution of Mr. and Mrs. Newkirk," said McBratney.
"Officers have a badge and a gun. They have a lot of power. They need to know how to exercise it in a judicious manner and they didn't do it in this incident."
The Patrol's records show DPS opened an investigation into Trooper Enzor's stop and the charges he made. Bobby Collins investigated the case and says he handed it over to director Leroy Smith in early December.
On Feb. 12, the day we filed an open records request for the Enzor file, DPS records show Smith suspended Enzor for 10 days and demoted him to senior trooper. The Patrol says it wasn't a case of discrimination, but a case where the trooper was discourteous and made an unlawful arrest.
We've asked for an interview with Smith concerning the racial discrimination allegations here but the director's PR contact, Sherri Iacobelli, denied our request. The Patrol released these records to us on Wednesday. In them, it shows ten racial profiling complaints within the Patrol in the past year. Of those, four were "unfounded" by the Patrol and four are still open investigations. Only one case, according to these Patrol records, the trooper was completely exonerated.
Collins says after the patrol reviewed the Newkirk case, the Patrol implemented statewide training for troopers.
The Highway Patrol ordered trooper Enzor to take anger management classes. Meanwhile, the Newkirk's attorney is working with the Patrol's insurance claims department to negotiate a settlement.
Monday, August 18 2014 4:58 PM EDT2014-08-18 20:58:47 GMT
One lane of the interstate has been reopened after it was shut down due to a deadly crash early Monday morning. The South Carolina Highway Patrol reports the collision happened around 3:21 a.m. on theMore >>
One person is dead and five others were injured when a tire blew on the vehicle they were riding in early Monday morning on Interstate 26.
Monday, August 18 2014 4:39 PM EDT2014-08-18 20:39:10 GMT
A home was badly damaged in a fire on Quail Rd Sunday. (Source: Beth Baldauf)
A home is likely a total loss after a fire swept through most of the structure Sunday afternoon. Crews were called to a home on Quail Lane near Trenholm Rd and found the home engulfed in flames. No injuriesMore >>
A home is likely a total loss after a fire swept through most of the structure Sunday afternoon. More >>
Sunday, August 17 2014 8:10 PM EDT2014-08-18 00:10:48 GMT
Forrest Wood Cup weigh-in Sunday. (Source: Tom Round)
It was a big pay day for Anthony Gagliardi Sunday. The Prosperity native took home the $500,000 grand prize in the Forrest Wood Cup held in Columbia. Anglers from across the nation headed to Lake MurrayMore >>
It was a big pay day for Anthony Gagliardi Sunday.More >>
Wednesday, August 20 2014 4:00 AM EDT2014-08-20 08:00:09 GMT
Some of the most beautiful places in South Carolina are just a short drive away from the Midlands. And some of the most interesting places in the state are right in our back yard.Local author and formerMore >>
Some of the most beautiful places in South Carolina are just a short drive away from the Midlands. And some of the most interesting places in the state are right in our back yard.More >>
Tuesday, August 19 2014 11:55 PM EDT2014-08-20 03:55:40 GMT
You may not have heard of Morgan Reeves or seen any of his election ads on television. That's because the state gubernatorial candidate doesn't have any and he doesn't have any campaign contributions.More >>
Independent candidate Morgan Reeves is looking to level the playing field when it comes to campaigning for elections. More >>
Tuesday, August 19 2014 11:53 PM EDT2014-08-20 03:53:16 GMT
For many businesspeople like real estate Jennifer Harding, Fort Jackson is worth fighting for. A loss of jobs on the Army post would have an especially drastic impact on her business."It means a loss ofMore >>
The loss of 3,100 Fort Jackson personnel could have a heavy affect on businesses around the Army post. More >>
Tuesday, August 19 2014 10:30 PM EDT2014-08-20 02:30:17 GMT
A slow speed chase in Kershaw County by a 92-year-old man raised a question of how old is too old to drive. The call came in near dusk in Kershaw County. "A reckless driver headed east on I-20 towardsMore >>
A slow speed chase in Kershaw County by a 92-year-old man raised a question of how old is too old to drive. More >>
Tuesday, August 19 2014 9:52 PM EDT2014-08-20 01:52:08 GMT
The suspect wanted for shooting into an occupied Sumter home has turned himself in. Terrance D. Haynesworth, 32, was wanted by the Sumter Police for a shooting that took place on Sampson Street on MondayMore >>
Terrance D. Haynesworth turned himself after being wanted for a shooting on Sampson Street. More >>