Crime & Public Safety

14th Circuit Solicitor chairs commission studying officer-involved shootings

A statewide commission chaired by 14th Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone will study and possibly help draft legislation for the prosecution of officer-involved shootings.

The task force was approved last week following a South Carolina Coordination Commission vote authorizing a study about how officers are prosecuted around the country when accused of a crime.

“I think it’s important that the public knows what the process is,” Stone said Friday. “I think it is crucial, because it is shows credibility and transparency.”

Stone tasked fellow solicitors and legislators to study four different areas in order to draft possible legislation to outline how investigations are handled. Commission members will look at legislation, current practices, ethics and prosecution involvement.

“Everywhere has a little different approach,” Stone said of how officer-involved shootings are handled around the state and nationwide. “Some handle them internally, some use a grand jury, some send those cases to the (state) Attorney General’s Office.”

Stone said he is willing to borrow methods that work for other state districts and states.

“I’ve always been a fan of best practices,” he said. “If I see something that I like, I use it.”

An update on how the collection of data is going is expected during the third week of September, Stone said.

A report of the commission’s preliminary recommendations is expected in November, giving the commission time to draft legislation to unify the state on how officer-involved shootings are investigated and prosecuted in time for state lawmakers, whose session begins in January, to address.

Caitlin Turner: 843-706-8184, @Cait_E_Turner