Richard Combs was the police chief, and only police officer, of small town Eutawville, South Carolina in 2011 when he killed Bernard Bailey after an alleged altercation outside of Town Hall.

Combs was attempting to arrest Bailey for obstruction of justice after the man challenged a ticket that his daughter had been given for a broken tail light.  Officer Combs followed Bailey to his truck and tried to prevent him from leaving.  Combs claims that he got his arm stuck in the steering wheel as Bailey drove away.  Fearing for his life, he shot Bailey twice in the chest.  In 2013, the DOJ (Dept. of Justice) decided that there were no civil rights violations in the case.  The case didn’t end there.

State investigators concluded that Combs was the aggressor and that he shouldn’t have escalated the incident.  Combs was charged with official misconduct.  State prosecutors pushed for a stand your ground claim to be dismissed, which it was last week.  A grand jury indicted Richard Combs the same day a New York grand jury refused to indict a white officer in the chokehold death of an unarmed black man.

Combs faces up to 10 years in prison for official misconduct and 30 years to life for the murder charge, if convicted.  The trial is scheduled to begin in January.

Combs is the third officer in South Carolina to be charged this year for an on-duty shooting.

A white police officer in North Augusta was charged with misconduct in office in August in the shooting death of a 68-year-old unarmed black man at his home after a chase.

A state trooper was charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature in September when he shot an unarmed black man he had pulled over as the man reached in his car to get his wallet. That shooting was captured on the trooper’s dashboard camera and shown around the world. Both officers are awaiting trials.


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