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Former SC police chief charged with murder in unarmed man shooti - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Former SC police chief charged with murder in unarmed man shooting

(source: WISTV) (source: WISTV)
Scene of the shooting. Scene of the shooting.
EUTAWVILLE, SC (WCSC) -

A former Eutawville police chief has been charged with murder in the 2011 shooting death of an unarmed black man.

Richard Combs worked in Eutawville when 54-year-old Bernard Bailey came to Town Hall to argue about his daughter's broken tail light ticket. 

Officials say Combs and Bailey got into an argument, which ended in the fatal shooting.

Combs was indicted by a grand jury on Wednesday, the same day a New York grand jury refused to indict an officer in the chokehold death of an unarmed black man. It's more than a week after a grand jury refused to indict an officer in the death of unarmed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

A friend of Bailey's said he was happy to hear that the former police chief would be charged in the incident.

"He didn't do anybody any harm," said Morris Middleton."He was a person just like you and I."

Investigators say Bailey was shot by Combs three times on May 2, 2011 while attempting to drive away from the town hall parking lot. Combs said he was trapped between Bailey's truck and another vehicle's door at the time of the shooting.

Combs' lawyer argued the officer feared for his life, but a judge denied the self-defense claim.  

A wrongful death lawsuit was filed on behalf of Bailey against the Town of Eutawville and Combs on October 1, 2012. 

A settlement was reached in April of this year. 

Combs is no longer with the Eutawville Police Department.

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