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Tag Archives: South Carolina

Stand and Murder Law, Again in South Carolina

Guy was doing a Hannibal Lecter routine…

And gets out on bail!

I guess it was OK in SC, because one of the men was brown.

SC man who shot and ’slow-cooked’ two men out on bail thanks to ‘stand your ground’ law

James Edward Loftis --  mugshotUsing the “stand your ground” defense, a Goose Creek man was granted bail on Monday in the shooting death of two men whose bodies he burned after he killed them, the Post Courier is reporting.

James Edward Loftis, 39, is facing murder charges in the deaths of taxi driver Guma Oz Dubar, 46, and his friend James Cody Newland, 32, on March 5 after they demanded he pay his fare following a ride home from a strip club.

While Loftis has given police varying accounts of what happened that evening — once saying he invited the men in, while another time saying they barged into his home —  several facts are not in dispute.

Loftis admitted that he shot both men before dragging their bodies outside his house, where he placed them in a shallow grave and set them on fire along with his bloody clothes before burying them.

“They were essentially just slow-cooked inside the grave site,” Deputy Solicitor Bryan Alfaro said during the bail hearing.

Conceding that what Loftis did was “heinous,” his attorney defended his client saying he was within his rights to defend himself in his own home under the state’s “stand your ground” laws.

“He’s a human being,” Stephen Harris said. “He freaked out and thought he was going to prison, so he tried to hide the bodies. Nobody knows how you’re going to react when you kill two people.”

Circuit Judge Markley Dennis agreed to allow Loftis to post $250,000 bail, saying his choice of the defense makes him less of a flight risk.

“The only way he will ever be able to resolve that is to … have his day in court,” Dennis explained.

The S.C. Protection of Persons and Property Act — also known as the “stand your ground” law — gives homeowners the right in many circumstances to use deadly force against people breaking into their houses.

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2016 in Domestic terrorism

 

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SC Sheriff Compares NAACP to KKK

This jackass needs to have his badge pulled. Especially in South Carolina after the Charleston Church massacre…

SC sheriff compares NAACP to the KKK: ‘The most racist people in America are minorities’

Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright speaks to WYFF (screen grab)

Sheriff Chuck Wright of Spartanburg County, South Carolina came under fire this week after he recently argued that minorities were “the most racist people in America” and compared the NAACP to the Ku Klux Klan.

While speaking to the Greenville-Spartanburg Republican Women’s meeting on April 7, Wright asserted that the NAACP was a racist organization because it focused on the civil rights of African-Americans, WYFF reported.

“I think the most racist people in America right now sometimes are minorities, small group minorities,” the sheriff opined, adding that not all minorities were racist.

“I’ve got a chaplain who works for me. He’s an African-American, he is my brother and I love him more than anything. He doesn’t buy into that mess. A bunch of his friends don’t either,” he said. “They don’t do the NAACP because I feel like that is a racist group as well as the KKK. I don’t care about them either.”

“I don’t want to be a part of no group that’s got something to do just because of your color. I don’t think they’re right,” Wright continued. “I think if we would quit worrying about Democrats or Republicans and just love our neighbors as God told us to, we’re gonna be better. We’re just gonna be better.”

Russell Lynch, an independent running against Wright for sheriff, responded by saying that Wright’s comments were “not conducive to solving those problems and addressing those issues and building those relationships with anybody, minorities included.”

“It’s an embarrassment to a law enforcement for a law enforcement professional to sum a group like the NAACP up as being a racist organization,” Lynch insisted. “Because the group I’ve been dealing with in Spartanburg, they’ve been nothing but good people.”

Wright later told WYFF that he agreed that the Spartanburg NAACP chapter “tries to help everybody.”

“There’s a very small group within that group. They’re divisive, and I don’t buy into that mess,” Wright remarked. “I don’t care about any group or any person who doesn’t respect you just because of whatever color God made you.”

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter, The Definition of Racism

 

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Out of Control Policing in South Carolina

This is incredible. SC Cops stop a couple diving legally…Because the car they are driving has temporary tags. That devolves, based solely on an Officer’s belief that there “is something there” into illegal searches of the vehicle, and ultimately a roadside body cavity search.

Video shows white cops performing roadside cavity search of black man

For the past few weeks, I’ve been working on an investigative series about police abuse in South Carolina. I’ve found a dizzying number of cases, including illegal arrests, botched raids, fatal shootings and serious questions about how all those incidents are investigated. Many of these cases were previously unreported, or if they were reported, the initial reports were a far cry from what actually happened. The series will run at some point in the next week. But in the meantime, I want to share one particularly horrifying incident that I came across this week while researching the series.

According to a federal lawsuit filed by attorney Robert Phillipswhat you see in the video below occurred in the town of Aiken, S.C., starting at about 12:20 p.m. on Oct. 2, 2014. The two occupants of the car are black. All the police officers are white.

See the VIdeo Here.

Here’s what happened: Lakeya Hicks and Elijah Pontoon were in Hicks’s car just a couple of blocks from downtown Aiken when they were pulled over by Officer Chris Medlin of the Aiken Department of Public Safety. Hicks was driving. She had recently purchased the car, so it still had temporary tags.

In the video, Medlin asks Hicks to get out, then tells her that he stopped her because of the “paper tag” on her car. This already is a problem. There’s no law against temporary tags in South Carolina, so long as they haven’t expired.

Medlin then asks Pontoon for identification. Since he was in the passenger seat, Pontoon wouldn’t have been required to provide ID even if the stop had been legitimate. Still, he provides his driver’s license to Medlin. A couple of minutes later, Medlin tells Hicks that her license and tags check out. (You can see the time stamp in the lower left corner of the video.) This should be the end of the stop — which, again, should never have happened in the first place.

Instead, Medlin orders Pontoon out of the vehicle and handcuffs him. He also orders Hicks out of the car. Pontoon then asks Medlin what’s happening. Medlin ignores him. Pontoon asks again. Medlin responds that he’ll “explain it all in a minute.” Several minutes later, a female officers appears. Medlin then tells Pontoon, “Because of your history, I’ve got a dog coming in here. Gonna walk a dog around the car.” About 30 seconds later, he adds, “You gonna pay for this one, boy.”

Moments later, a K9 officer named Clark Smith arrives. He walks around the car with his dog. A fourth police officer then shows up. The four officers then spend the next 15 minutes conducting a thorough search of the car. Early into the search, Medlin exclaims, “Uh-huh!” as if he has found something incriminating. But nothing comes of it.

After the search of the car comes up empty, Medlin tells the female officer to “search her real good,” referring to Hicks. The personal search of Hicks is conducted off camera, but according to the complaint filed by Phillips, it allegedly involved exposing Hicks’s breasts on the side of the road in a populated area. The complaint also alleges that this was all done in direct view of the three male officers. That search, too, produced no contraband.

The officers then turn their attention to Pontoon. Medlin asks Pontoon to get out of the car. He cuffs him and begins to pat him down. Toward the end of the first video, at about the 12:46:30 mark, he tells Pontoon: “You’ve got something here right between your legs. There’s something hard right there between your legs.” Medlin says that he’s going to “put some gloves on.”

The anal probe happens out of direct view of the camera, but the audio leaves little doubt about what’s happening. Pontoon at one point says that one of the officers is grabbing his hemorrhoids. Medlin appears to reply, “I’ve had hemorrhoids, and they ain’t that hard.” At about 12:47:15 in the video, the audio actually suggests that two officers may have inserted fingers into Pontoon’s rectum, as one asks, “What are you talking about, right here?” The other replies, “Right straight up in there.”

Pontoon then again tells the officers that they’re pushing on a hemorrhoid. One officer responds, “If that’s a hemorrhoid, that’s a hemorrhoid, all right? But that don’t feel like no hemorrhoid to me.”

The officers apparently continue to search Pontoon’s rectum for another three minutes. They found no contraband. At 12:50:25, Medlin tells Pontoon to turn around and explains that he suspects him because he recognized him from when he worked narcotics. “Now I know you from before, from when I worked dope. I seen you. That’s why I put a dog on the car.”

That was Medlin’s “reasonable suspicion” to call for a drug dog — he thought he recognized Pontoon from a drug case. Medlin could well have been correct about recognizing Pontoon. He has a lengthy criminal history that includes drug charges, although his record appears to be clean since 2006, save for one arrest for “failure to comply.” Of course, even if Medlin did recognize Pontoon, that in itself isn’t cause to even stop him, much less search his car, or to subject him to a roadside cavity search.

With no contraband and no traffic violation to justify the stop in the first place, Medlin concluded the stop by giving Hicks a “courtesy warning,” although according to the complaint, there’s no indication of what the warning was actually for. Perhaps it was to warn to steer clear of police officers in Aiken….Read The Rest Here

 

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Cop Who Shot Levar Jones Pleads Guilty

Another Bad Cop off the force…The bad news is a innocent citizen had to get shot to do it.

This one made news as the victim, complying with the officer’s command to get his license was shot in the back as he did so.

South Carolina State Trooper Pleads Guilty To Shooting Unarmed Black Man

The officer fired his gun four times as Levar Jones reached into his car for his ID.

A white South Carolina trooper pleaded guilty on Monday to shooting an unarmed black man during a traffic stop recorded on the officer’s dash cam.

Sean Groubert, 32, could be sentenced to 20 years in prison for assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. He fired multiple shots at Levar Jones and struck him once in the hip at a gas station in 2014.

Jones survived the shooting and limped into court to hear Groubert enter the guilty plea.

Groubert pulled over Jones for an alleged seat belt violation and fired four shots when Jones, who was standing outside his vehicle, reached inside to fetch his ID.

The officer was fired after South Carolina Department of Public Safety Director Leroy Smith reviewed the video.

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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The Story of How the First KKK Was Broken In South Carolina

Your history books will tell you the Civil War ended with Lee’s signing his surrender at Appomattox Courthouse. That isn’t true.

Small scale armed battles would continue throughout the South and midwest would continue for another 15-20 years between black and Native American militias and groups especially in the Carolinas against the the KKK and white Militias, as well as remnants of Quantrills “Raiders” and “Border Ruffians” and Jayhawkers out west.

The following is the history of one group of Federal Troops, Company K, sent to try and break up the KKK in South Carolina in the early 1870’s resulting in the destruction of the First Klan in that state.

If you are familiar with the history of the KKK, there have been three Klans spanning a period of over 100 years – and a fourth likely emerging under the influence of Donald Trumps racism and xenophobia.

K Troop

The story of the eradication of the original Ku Klux Klan.

“Go out and shoot every white man you meet, and you will hit a Ku-Klux every time.”

Sometime after 2 o’clock in the morning, the men cramming into the small cabin lowered themselves to the floor. For a passing moment, they must have looked as though they were conducting a group prayer. They were listening at the floorboards for any rustling, breathing, maybe even whispered pleas for deliverance. Then they tore up the planks. A woman standing near them begged them to stop. Ferociously, they went on, until the floor surrendered its secret.

Earlier that same night, March 6, 1871, the Ku Klux Klan had swarmed the South Carolina upcountry. The rumble of 50-odd men on horseback sounded like an invading force. Membership in the local dens of the Klan, which emerged as a paramilitary terror group after the South’s defeat in the Civil War, thrived in York County. But movements like the Ku Klux Klan feed on fear even in times of strength, and the alarms were ringing out over the growing numbers of black voters in local elections.

That night, the riders went house to house dragging black men out of their beds and forcing them to swear never to vote for “radical” candidates—in other words, those set on protecting their tenuous new rights. The Klansmen’s goals went beyond the vote to the humiliation of these men in front of their families, sending the message that whatever else might have changed since the Civil War, the power dynamic in York County had not. “God damn you,” one Klansman cried out during an attack. “I’ll let you know who is in command now.”

The tormenters concealed themselves beneath robes and horned masks; some of the clothing was dark, some white, some bore crosses or grotesque designs. The man leading this night’s havoc was Dr. J. Rufus Bratton. One local resident and former slave later remembered Bratton as a man who set the “style of polite living” around York County. A father of seven who volunteered to serve as an army surgeon for the Confederacy during the war, Dr. Bratton was the county’s leading physician as well as one of the top officials in its Klan. He brought an agenda with him that night that he shared with only a select number of the other nightriders, a term the press began to apply to the violent men.

Bratton claimed a local black militia led by a man named James Williams was responsible for a rash of fires at white-owned properties. These militiamen, supported by the state and federal governments in an effort to encourage black civic engagement, were not content with a ceremonial status. They swore to avenge the Klan’s growing list of misdeeds and murders, to become a kind of counter-Klan force. During the course of the ride, Bratton rendezvoused with younger members of his order, including Amos and Chambers Brown, sons of a former magistrate, and the four Sherer brothers, who were only formally initiated into the Klan during that night’s ride. When the men met up, they used code words confirming their membership.

“Who comes there?”

“Friends.”

“Friends to whom?”

“Friends to our country.”

Bratton directed this smaller unit of men to the home of Andy Timons, a member of Williams’s militia.

Timons woke to shouts. “Here we come, right from hell!” They demanded the door be opened. Before Timons had a chance to reach it, they broke it from the hinges and grabbed him. “We want to see your captain tonight.”

After beating Timons until he gave up the location of Williams’ home, about a dozen Klansmen rode in that direction. They picked up yet another member of the black militia on their way there; even with the information on Williams’ whereabouts obtained from Timons they needed more help to locate a rural cabin in the dead of night. “We are going to kill Jim Williams,” they told their new guide.

Williams’ offenses in the eyes of Bratton and his co-conspirators predated the formation of the militia. During the Civil War, Williams had been a slave near Brattonsville (a plantation named for Dr. Bratton’s ancestors, and where Bratton himself was born) until he escaped from his master and crossed into the North to fight for the Union army. When he returned to York County after the South’s defeat a free man, he represented an era of new beginnings, “a leading radical amongst the niggers,” as one Klansman groused. He changed his name from Rainey, the name of his former owners, to Williams and headed the militia that vowed to check the Klan’s power.

A few hundred yards from Williams’ house, Bratton brought a smaller detachment of his men to the door. Rose Williams answered, informing them her husband had gone out and she did not know where he was. Searching the house, they only found the Williams children and another man. The raid’s leader was not satisfied that his prize for the night was gone and studied the house with his piercing black eyes.

“He might be under there,” Bratton said of some wood flooring that caught his eye.

They lowered themselves, trying for the most likely spot. Prying up the planks, they found Jim Williams crouched beneath.

Rose pleaded with them not to hurt her husband. They told her to go to bed with her children and marched Williams out of the house. Andy Timons, meanwhile, scrambled to gather the militia to warn Williams, but the Klan’s head start was too great. Bratton had brought a rope with him from town and placed it around Williams’ neck as the group selected a pine tree they decided “was the place to finish the job.” Williams agreed to climb up by his own power to the branch from which they would drop him, but when they were ready to finish the job, he grabbed onto a tree limb and would not let go. One of Bratton’s subordinates, Bob Caldwell, hacked at Williams’ fingers with a knife until he dropped.

Searching the woods later, Timons and Rose found him hanging by the neck. A card on the corpse mocked the militia: Jim Williams on his big muster. Meanwhile, Dr. Bratton rejoined the larger group of Klan riders, who stopped for refreshments at the home of Bratton’s brother, John. One of the Klansmen who had not been on the raid asked where Williams was.

“He is in hell I expect,” replied Bratton.

At Bratton’s brother’s house the secret riders could relax without their disguises, revealing some of the most recognizable and distinguished faces of York County. They could celebrate weakening the will and abilities of their local political enemies through their latest campaign of intimidation. But their actions under the cover of darkness that night—and on many other nights filled with whippings, beatings, sexual assault, and murders—were set to unleash an unprecedented counterattack from the federal government with a single goal: to wipe out the KKK….Read the Rest of This Story Here

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2016 in Black History, Domestic terrorism

 

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The Story of Robert Smalls, and South Carolina

By 1900, only 34 States had compulsory Public Education systems – 4 in the South. During the reconstruction period when black legislators were elected, Public Schools were established in some states of the South, several were shut down after Reconstruction in Southern States.

The story of Robert Smalls still resonates today – as does the Southern Myth of Reconstruction.

The tale of a former slave sheds light on South Carolina’s presidential primaries

It is impossible not to think of history as we watch the poll results rolling in from South Carolina, where Clinton and Sanders vie for the state’s largely African American Democratic vote, and where Trump handily won the Republican contest, where exit polls indicated that 96% of voters were white .

Much of the state’s history – as the birthplace of secession and a stronghold of Jim Crow segregation – is shameful, and its repercussions are not entirely past. But looking back at one of the state’s legendary African American political figures might help us understand how the state decides to vote come this weekend, especially as the question of reparations becomes a national debate.

Robert Smalls was a slave who stole a Confederate ship during the Civil War and brought it to the Union fleet, gained his freedom, managed to get elected to the state legislature, and ultimately served five terms in Congress .

Smalls’ mother was a slave to Henry McKee, but as a young boy, Smalls was rented out in Charleston, where he learned how to pilot ships. When the civil war broke out – it started in Charleston – he and a number of other slaves worked on the Planter, a Confederate ship, which he daringly captured in the middle of the night and piloted through the mine-infested waters, first to pick up family members of the enslaved crew, and then to the Union blockade of the harbor.

He managed to successfully deliver the ship, which he continued to pilot throughout the war, becoming something of a cause célèbre. In 1865, he brought the Planter to Philadelphia, where he was to give a talk. He was kicked off of the segregated trolley on his way back to the ship, prompting a movement that eventually desegregated that city’s public transportation.

After the war, Smalls ran a store, a newspaper, and served in the state legislature – where he fought for and won the first public education in the state – before being elected to Congress for five terms.

His old home in Beaufort – at 511 Prince St – is marked a historical site and it is is, in many ways, a perfect monument to post-reconstruction race relations in America.

Smalls bought the home in a tax sale when he returned after the war. His mother had worked there raising the McKee children even though her own son, Robert, had been sent away. Now he was back and he legally owned the house.

“After the war, Henry McKee, who was most likely Robert’s father, died,” said Helen B Moore, Smalls’ great granddaughter, who manages a travelling exhibit dedicated to Small. “Mary Bowles McKee was left alone and was both physically and mentally ill . She wandered her way back to the house where she had lived for many years. She came to the door and Smalls, of course, recognised her. She wanted to come in and he allowed her to do so – she was quite ill and quite demented and had no idea the house had been sold.”

She did not remember that the house was no longer her property, according to Moore, but also probably didn’t realise that Smalls himself was not her property anymore.

Moore says the story was passed down through family lore, and no one can say whether it’s true or not. But we can imagine the horror of those conversations as Smalls tried to gently remind this woman, day after day, again and again, that they were equals, he was in the legislature, and he was not her property.

In many ways, the story of Robert Smalls and Mary McKee is the story of race relations in America for the last 150 years. White America continually slips into a kind of dementia, repeatedly forgetting that the world has changed, that we white people don’t own African Americans, that we are not better than them, more valuable, or more deserving of reward. In order to awaken ourselves – and I write this as a white male born and raised in South Carolina – perhaps we need a new reconstruction.

The “ Bargain of 1877 ” ended reconstruction in the south, and we fell into the folly of Jim Crow when the state constitution of 1895 legally enshrined segregation. We were awakened and reminded again of the errors of our ways during the civil rights movement, but quickly drifted into a new form of the dementia as the drug war and mass incarceration followed through.

Last month, Hillary Clinton gaffed at an Iowa debate by implying that reconstruction was a bad time in the nation’s history. The question – who was her favorite president – was an attempt to catch her between Obama and her husband Bill. Instead, she tripped into another hole when she chose that safest of presidential heroes, Abraham Lincoln.

“I don’t know what our country might have been like had he not been murdered, but I bet that it might have been a little less rancorous, a little more forgiving and tolerant, that might possibly have brought people back together more quickly,” she said.

His old home in Beaufort – at 511 Prince St, which he purchased at tax auction had been the former residence of the McKee family which were his slavemasters prior to the War

“But instead, you know, we had reconstruction, we had the reinstigation of segregation and Jim Crow. We had people in the south feeling totally discouraged and defiant. So, I really do believe he could have very well put us on a different path.”

Hillary had backed herself into the old-school view of “the horrors of reconstruction”, and the response, most notably by Ta-Nehisi Coates in the Atlantic , was fierce and immediate.

Eric Foner, a professor of history at Columbia University and the author of numerous books on the subject, said: “Here’s why Hillary’s remark struck a chord with people, a negative chord … The old view of reconstruction as a period of misgovernment, of punishment of the white south and that kind of thing, the underpinnings of that are still around today. They reverberate today – the notion that giving rights to black people is a punishment to whites in some way.”

Foner suggests that the discussion of reconstruction is not really about the past. “A lot of the questions that are being debated in our campaign right now are reconstruction issues. You know, who’s a citizen, who should be a citizen? How do you deal with terrorism? What’s the balance of power between the federal government and the states? And the right to vote? In other words, we are seeing issues of reconstruction really fought out right now.”...Read the Rest Here

 

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2016 in Black History, Democrat Primary, Giant Negros

 

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Clown Bus Shrinkage…

Jeb Crash

Jeb Bush Bows Out of Campaign, Humbled and Outmaneuvered

Jeb Bush dropped out of the presidential race on Saturday, ending a quest for the White House that started with a war chest of $100 million, a famous name and a promise of political civility but concluded with a humbling recognition: In 2016, none of it mattered.

No single candidacy this year fell so short of its original expectations. It began with an aura of inevitability that masked deep problems, from Mr. Bush himself, a clunky candidate in a field of gifted performers, to the rightward drift of the Republican Party since Mr. Bush’s time as a consensus conservative in Florida.

“I’m proud of the campaign that we’ve run to unify our country,” Mr. Bush said, his eyes moist, in an emotional speech here Saturday night after his third straight disappointing finish in the early voting states. “The people of Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina have spoken, and I really respect their decision.”

Mr. Bush’s campaign had rested on a set of assumptions that, one by one, turned out to be flatly incorrect: that the Republican primaries would turn on a record of accomplishment in government; that Mr. Bush’s cerebral and reserved style would be an asset; and that a country wary of dynasties would evaluate this member of the Bush family on his own merits.

No surprise, Uncle Ben Carson came in last in South Carolina…But he has sworn to hang on.

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2016 in The Clown Bus

 

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