Former SC atty. gen.: Deadly force ‘not justified’ in fatal officer-involved shooting
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A former state attorney general weighed in Tuesday on police video of a February officer-involved shooting that left a man dead and a police officer facing a manslaughter charge.
Charlie Condon reviewed the video of the Feb. 6 incident in Georgetown County. Attorneys representing the man who was fatally shot after a police chase, 46-year-old Robert Langley, released the Hemingway Police dashcam footage.
“It’s disturbing to look at it,” Condon said after reviewing the video.
The State Law Enforcement Division announced Dollard was charged with voluntary manslaughter in Langley’s death.
Condon said it’s a cut and dry case and that he believes it is clear the officer, Cassandra Dollard, was in the wrong.
“You have a South Carolina citizen who’s on the highways. Yes, there’s traffic issues involved here, yes, there’s blue lights going on,” Condon said. “But to have that result in his death, it’s just really disturbing and I completely understand why she was charged relatively quickly by the State Law Enforcement Division because there’s not a justification for use of deadly force.”
An incident report from the Hemingway Police Department states Dollard spotted a silver sedan driven by Langley running a stop sign. She attempted to pull him over and he stopped, then drove off, the report states.
Investigators say Dollard chased Langley with her blue lights activated across the Williamsburg-Georgetown County line where Langley crashed into a ditch. A
s Dollard approached his car, she appears to slip as she steps into the ditch and shouts, “Don’t you come out” and “you better not come out.” As Langley’s head appears from the open door, a gunshot is heard.
After he falls to the ground, Dollard stands and orders him to show her his hands, saying, “You had something in your hand, sir.”
The video includes Dollard calling back to dispatch saying, “Central, be advised, one shot fired. He had something in his hand.”
Officers do have the right to shoot to kill if they feel they are in danger.
But Condon says in his review of the tape that it doesn’t appear Langley had anything in his hands or appeared to be a threat.
“I know it’s a really dangerous job. I certainly support law enforcement and we put them out on the streets, it’s a very challenging job to keep us all safe,” Condon said. “At the same time when you have that kind of authority it needs to be exercised in a lawful manner and this hasn’t been used in a lawful manner. There just doesn’t seem to be any way to justify the killing here.”
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