Trooper faces federal civil rights charge

A South Carolina state trooper seen on video apparently striking a suspect on foot with his car has been charged by the Department of Justice with a civil rights violation, according to a press release.

From the Department of Justice:

A federal grand jury in Greenville, S.C., returned an indictment (Tuesday) charging South Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Steve C. Garren with a federal civil rights violation, announced Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and W. Walter Wilkins, U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina.

The indictment alleges that on June 24, 2007, Garren intentionally struck a man with his patrol vehicle resulting in bodily injury to the man. The indictment further alleges that Garren’s actions willfully deprived the man of his constitutional right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a police officer.

From ABC News 4:

The charge follows an investigation by federal and state authorities after a video of the alleged incident was shown by television and internet media outlets earlier this year.

"The joint investigation into the conduct of certain members of the South Carolina Highway Patrol is ongoing, and I anticipate additional presentations to the federal grand jury. Our office will continue to work with the FBI, SLED, and the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice to identify those cases that are appropriate for federal prosecution," Wilkins stated.

That suggests there might be more indictments coming after a number of videos that have surfaced in the past year of apparent actions of this sort by law enforcement officials. The Post and Courier has a lot of coverage of the trooper issue. You can check out for more stories, as well as many of the videos from troopers' dashboards.

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