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Tharp case still makes me cry

I initially blogged about this case as it unfolded, then re-titled the blog and condensed my comments. As far as I know, nothing has ever ...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Paper blocks criticism of SC Highway Patrol

Update 9/24/2014 - One of the state's gang of glorified revenue agents shot an unarmed motorist - Levar Edward Jones - earlier this month. Lance Cpl. Sean Groubert was fired and has now been charged with assault and battery. Anyone other than a cop would have been charged with attempted murder. Shocking dash cam video and audio features the bewildered motorist asking why he was shot.

Update 9/27/2014 - We now learn that trooper Groubert was also caught on audio lying to his supervisor about what happened.

See more updates below this post.

I had it out with the State newspaper when they refused to report the bloodcurdling details surrounding the death of Marine recruit Jason Tharp. Got so mad I cancelled my subscription, trashed their newspaper box, and stopped submitting comments.

Enter a spate of egregious criminal misconduct and other eyebrow raising incidents by the South Carolina Highway Patrol. 2010 started off with a trooper busted for being part of a big grow-your-own marijuana business, using his cruiser to transport the stuff. The year ended with a trooper caught distributing cocaine - talk about patrolling the "high" way - and a DUI charge for an off duty trooper who had been drinking at a bar, drove through an intersection, and crashed into a wall. June of 2011, another trooper had been drinking at a bar, was being driven home, and from the moving vehicle suddenly started shooting into a residence. The following month, Homeland Security caught a trooper with thousands of photos of child porn, along with a number of photos he took of underage girls at Myrtle Beach.

2012 saw sentences handed down for the cocaine (three years), the marijuana (5 years), and the child porn (three years). Also this year, a former trooper pleaded guilty to February's armed robbery of a bank, and a trooper wrecked his cruiser - upside down, on fire, in a ditch - while endangering everyone on the road by chasing a motorcycle at speeds over 100 mph. In another incident, it's "unclear" if a trooper was wearing his seatbelt when he lost control of his cruiser and slammed into a tree. Further details - such as road conditions (likely wet) and how fast the trooper was going - were kept quiet. Questions remain regarding the Patrol's response - or lack thereof - to an apparent DUI involving a Sumter sheriff's deputy, and the investigation drags on regarding the death of a black, unarmed motorist shot twice in the chest during a traffic stop.

The Patrol has troublesome history galore - beyond the scope of this post - from the racially charged Orangeburg Massacre in 1968 to such heartwarming events as an off duty trooper robbing a gas station and the beating of a karate expert after he passively allowed a trooper to handcuff him. Videos show troopers slinging out the "n" word, using a cruiser to bump an unarmed black guy, and dragging an unarmed black female from her car, shoving her to the ground. A cadre of troopers got caught at a bar featuring topless entertainment, and a motorist called 911 to report what turned out to be an off duty trooper dressed like a woman, complete with bra and wig. The trooper refused a breathalyzer, failed a field sobriety test, and was charged with DUI. Prior to the 911 call, another trooper apparently identified the suspect and neglected to take action.

When news broke about the sentence for child porn, I made an exception to my policy of avoiding the State and posted the following comment:

"Police State USA's glorified revenue agents of the SCHP. Now we can add possession of child pornography along with cocaine distribution, DUI, marijuana distribution, no ticket for Lt. Gov. Bauer goin' 101 mph, no breathalyzer, charges or arrest for an apparently drunk as a skunk Sumter sheriff's deputy - narcotics division - and the list goes on ad nauseum. Its way past time for this taxpayer-funded gang to clean up its act."

The comment was removed, and resubmission prompted a "subject to moderation" message but no publication. Curiously, only three comments were displayed. One focused on computer technicalities and how crimes should be categorized. The other two toyed with feigned indignation regarding the attire of underaged girls at the beach.   

Enough of online trolls and politically motivated censorship. Police misconduct is rampant all across America, and there's no excuse for mainstream media protecting these jack booted thugs from the public's justifiable outrage.

Update 8/29/2012 - I sent the State a copy of this post and published links to the post on Twitter and Facebook.

Update 10/18/2012 - It's turning out to be quite a year for South Carolina's state troopers. Last month, a trooper lost control of his vhicle, flipped upside down, and was ticketed for driving too fast for conditions. This month, a trooper was fired after his mistress called police and alleged that the trooper shook her and choked her when she ended a 12-year relationship. The ex-trooper has now been charged with assault and battery.     

Update 12/3/2012 - Talk about disparity in sentencing. The troopers - talk about armed and dangerous - involved in big-time drug trafficking get sentences in the three to five year range, while "other folks" get sent away for 30 along with supervised release for life upon completion of the sentence.

Update 12/4/2012 - Bringin' things up to date for 2012, on Friday, November 30th, a trooper was arrested for disorderly conduct, and the following Sunday, a trooper allegedly hit three pedestrians in the wee hours of the morning and fled the scene. Charged accordingly, he has resigned. Whew. Too much to keep up with, and the year isn't over yet.

Update 3/11/2013 - Starting off a new year, the issue of racial profiling has again surfaced - in a big way - at the South Carolina Highway Patrol. Stay tuned.

Update 8/222014 - Lance Corporal R.S. Salter was fired after the trooper went berzerk while arresting an NFL player for a traffic violation.

Update 9/17/2014 - Troopers endangered everyone on the road by chasing a maniacle former cop - Howard Henry "Hank" Smith, Jr. - through traffic at speeds over 110 mph as the suspect fired shots. The SCHP is notorious for high speed pursuits, ignoring the horrific facts associated with such outrageous behavior. SMITH charged with attempted murder? If anyone ought to be charged with attempted murder, it's the gang of police state thugs.

Update 9/19/2014 - Trooper who had been with the department off and on for over 40 years was arrested for assaulting his wife and was charged with criminal domestic violence.

Update 4/3/2015 - The state's gang of glorified revenue agents is off to a spectacular start for 2015. The gang has ventured into narcotics distribution, which is no surprise considering the gang's rap sheet for cocaine and marijuana. We await further word on this latest episode of the gang's fascination with selling controlled substances.