South Carolina Police officers have been exonerated in more than 200 shootings over the past five years.
The details came in an investigation by The State late last month, but they take on new significance in light of the alleged murder of Walter Scott, an African American shot dead by former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager.
From the State:
Police in South Carolina have fired their weapons at 209 suspects in the past five years, and a handful of officers have been accused of pulling the trigger illegally – but none has being convicted, according to an analysis by The State newspaper.
The analysis also found:
At least 101 African-American suspects were shot at, of whom 34 died. At least 67 white suspects were shot at; 41 died. Five were either Latino, Asian or Native American; four of them died.
Analysis of the statistics revealed that about 38 percent of the shootings were fatal.
South Carolina lawyer John O’Leary, who has defended cops for 26 years, said he "cannot remember any” police in the state getting convicted.
“Certainly, there’s been a lot of shootings,” O'Leary said.
South Carolina is not unique. It is exceedingly rare for police to be convicted, let alone charged for shooting and killing suspects while on the job.
In Slager's case, the shooting was caught on cellphone video. The mayor of North Charleston announced on Wednesday that the police department will get body cameras.