Former Black Police Officer Executed by Terrified White Cop From [HERE] and [MORE] Judge Edgar Dickson of the South Carolina Circuit Court, on Tuesday, declared a mistrial in the murder case against a former police chief for the 2011 killing of an unarmed black man. Thisdecision followed the jury remaining deadlocked after 12 hours of deliberation. Former police chief of Eutawville, Richard Combs allegedly shot 54-year-old Bernard Bailey in the town hall parking lot in May of 2011. If convicted, Combs may have faced a sentence of life in prison. Bailey was a former correctional officer. [MORE]
Nine of the 12 jury members thought he was guilty of murder, but three accepted his argument that he had acted in self-defence. To avoid a hung jury, all 12 members must be unanimous.
The seven black and five white jurors could have found Combs not guilty, guilty of murder or guilty of voluntary manslaughter. Murder carries a penalty of 30 years to life in prison without parole. Voluntary manslaughter carries two to 30 years in prison and would have meant Bailey’s killing was illegal but it happened because of passion.
The prosecution now has the opportunity to bring fresh murder charges against Mr Combs. “I'm going to take a little time, but we’re going forward,” prosecutor David Pascoe told the Associated Press. Eutawville officials had previously reached a $400,000 settlement in a lawsuit brought by members of Mr. Bailey’s family for the actions of the white cop.
By every account, Mr. Bailey and Mr. Combs met for the first time in March 2011, after Mr. Combs stopped Mr. Bailey’s daughter for a broken taillight. Mr. Bailey went to the scene and, according to Mr. Combs, was "belligerent."
Although Mr. Bailey was not arrested during that early-morning stop, Mr. Combs sought a warrant for obstruction of justice. "Obstruction of justice" for obstructing what? Arrested for being belligerent? A white judge approved the request, but Mr. Combs did not try to serve it for more than a month. Instead, he said, he planned to arrest Mr. Bailey on the day when his daughter would make a court appearance about the traffic infraction.
But Mr. Bailey visited the Town Hall on May 2, a day before his daughter’s court date, to discuss the citation, and Mr. Combs decided then to attempt an arrest. Mr. Bailey, described by witnesses as angry and stunned, tried to leave without being detained. [Arresting him for what again?]
According to Mr. Combs, Mr. Bailey shoved him away during a subsequent skirmish in the Town Hall’s parking lot.
After Mr. Bailey started his truck’s engine and shifted the truck into reverse, Mr. Combs said, “I thought I was going to die. I thought I was going to be run over by the truck.” He drew his handgun, a .40-caliber Glock, and fired; Mr. Bailey died at the scene. [Did the shooting stop the car?]
Mr. Combs also struggled on the witness stand, especially when he was asked to reconcile his account of how he obtained the arrest warrant. He also appeared ruffled when Mr. Pascoe clutched the handgun used in the shooting and posed questions like, “How did Mr. Bailey feel when you shoved State’s Exhibit 1 in his face?”
The legal system has produced mixed results for Mr. Combs, who was indicted on a charge of murder in December, shortly before he was scheduled to stand trial for official misconduct.
The United States Department of Justice investigated the shooting but chose not to file charges.
Mr. Bailey’s family said Tuesday that it was “not dissuaded from our unswerving pursuit of justice.”
The defence had argued that the shooting had nothing to do with race and reports say that case had not triggered controversy in the way that some cases had, such as last summer’s shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson.
During closing arguments, Mr Pascoe said Mr Combs frequently changed his story to match the evidence and was confident he would never be held responsible for killing mr Bailey because he was a police officer. [MORE]