Shamir Palmer's family: It was murder, not suicide

VIDEO: Shamir Palmer's family: Death was murder, not suicide
Published: Sep. 10, 2015 at 10:11 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 11, 2015 at 10:21 PM EDT
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Elder James Johnson speaking at the news conference.
Elder James Johnson speaking at the news conference.

DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The family of a man killed by Dorchester County deputies after a high speed chase says his death was murder.

Earlier this week, the solicitor's office clear the deputies involved of any wrongdoing, in the Aug. 8 fatal shooting of 24-year-old Shamir Palmer.

Palmer's family says they've seen the newly-released dash cam video of the shooting, and said they disagree. The family claims authorities are trying to destroy Palmer's character, and that even with his criminal past, deputies had no right to shoot him.

A SLED spokesperson confirmed Friday, there are eleven dashcam videos of the shooting.  The version the solicitor used to clear deputies has not been released.  According to a report released Wednesday, in that video, Palmer pointed a gun at deputies, and did not follow commands to drop his weapon.

The coroner ruled his death suicide by cop, where a person deliberately tries to be killed by police officers.

Investigators said Palmer was involved in another shooting in Ridgeville a few hours before the incident, then fired a shot at a Highway Patrol trooper who tried to pull him over for speeding. Deputies then chased Palmer through several neighborhoods where his car struck a house, according to authorities. After being cornered on Lake Schultz Drive, investigators say Palmer pulled out a gun and refused to drop it.

At a news conference with members of the National Action Network, Palmer's family disputed law enforcement officers' claims.

Palmer's uncle said the family believes deputies never told him to drop a weapon. They also questioned how long it took for deputies to render aid, after he was shot.

"We must ask the question, who deserves justice," he said.  "The answer is everyone."

Solicitor David Pascoe said he found no wrongdoing on the part of the deputies.

"All of the evidence suggests that the officers involved acted from a good faith and reasonable belief that deadly force was necessary to protect themselves, their fellow officers, and other citizens in the area from a significant risk of death or serious bodily injury caused by Mr. Palmer," Pascoe said.

Palmer's family says they plan to consult an attorney, and will likely pursue a lawsuit.  A spokesman for the National Action Network said they will also ask the Justice Department to review the case.

"He may have a record, but it doesn't justify the way they killed him," said NAN state president Elder James Johnson.

In a flyer distributed at Friday's press conference, a family member of Shamir Palmer wrote, "we will put our trust in God and the truth will come out and justice will be served."

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