FLORENCE, S.C. — The Latest on a shooting by a volunteer police officer in South Carolina (all times local):
Body camera video from a South Carolina police officer shows a volunteer constable firing his gun at a car as the driver hits a police cruiser and then drives away from a traffic stop.
The Florence Police Department released the video Tuesday after Mayor Stephen Wukela called the Saturday night shooting troubling.
The video shows the driver refusing to get out after officers said they smelled marijuana. He then puts his car in reverse and constable Christopher Bachochin steps back and fires as the car hits a police cruiser and drives off.
The State Law Enforcement Division’s training strongly discourages officers from shooting at moving cars because they are hard targets to hit and bullets can strike other people. Instead, authorities suggest getting out of the way.
The driver was wounded and was released from the hospital Monday.
A county prosecutor says he’s asking South Carolina’s attorney general to decide whether to charge a volunteer police officer in the shooting of a motorist.
Florence County Solicitor Ed Clements told The Associated Press on Tuesday that his office has a conflict of interest. State prosecutors will now decide if constable Christopher Bachochin is charged in Saturday’s shooting.
Clements said Bachochin was riding with a city of Florence police officer when they pulled over a man who did not initially stop.
The prosecutor says Bachochin fired as many as eight shots at the car when the man inside refused to get out and looked like he was grabbing something.
Clements says he watched the body and dashboard recordings, but refused to say if he thought the shooting was justified.
A South Carolina mayor says video of an incident where a white volunteer officer shot a black driver during a traffic stop shows the encounter was “troubled.”
But Florence Mayor Stephen Wukela would not describe the video to reporters Tuesday, saying it would speak for itself.
He said police were still processing the body and dashboard cameras recordings, and plan to make them public as soon as possible.
Authorities say constable Christopher Bachochin was riding with a regular police officer to maintain his certification to be a volunteer officer when they pulled over a driver.
Bachochin didn’t return a message left at a listing for him.
The driver was released from the hospital Monday. A family spokesman says they plan to make a statement later this week.
A prosecutor says a volunteer police officer in South Carolina shot at a driver up to eight times after the man refused to get out of his vehicle during a traffic stop and appeared to be looking for something.
Solicitor Ed Clements says the State Law Enforcement Division is reviewing body camera and dashboard recordings frame by frame of the shooting Saturday night by a constable in Florence.
Authorities say the driver, who is black, was wounded and released from the hospital Monday.
The constable, who is white, was riding along with a Florence police officer. The mayor and police chief immediately sought to clear the city of responsibility, saying the city officer did not fire.
Florence Mayor Stephen Wukela plans a 1 p.m. Tuesday news conference and officials say he is considering releasing police video of the shooting.
The shooting of a black motorist during a traffic stop this weekend has raised questions about South Carolina’s training and oversight of volunteer law enforcers known as constables.
Florence police say the constable was riding along with an officer Saturday night when they stopped a driver and the constable wounded the man, who is expected to survive. It’s unclear why the constable fired, and the police chief says his officer isn’t being investigated.
State Rep. Terry Alexander, a Democrat, says he’s heard troubling details that prompted his own inquiry.
The Post and Courier reports constables are appointed by the governor and can carry weapons and make arrests, but they’re not trained by the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy and are not directly overseen by the State Law Enforcement Division.
Information from: The Post and Courier, http://www.postandcourier.com