The shooting of a Black driver by a White state constable during a traffic
stop in Florence, South Carolina, over the weekend has met scrutiny
concerning volunteer law enforcement, reports the Post And Courier. About
11 p.m. Saturday night, a constable was reportedly on a ride-along with a
Florence cop when they pulled over a driver in a residential part of town.
The incident elevated when the constable allegedly fired his gun at the
driver and injured him. It’s still unclear as to what prompted the
constable to fire his weapon and why the driver was even pulled over. None
of the parties involved have been identified at this time. However, the
incident has already promoted the mayor of Florence to call a press
The Post reports that unlike reserve officers, who also volunteer their
time, constables do not go through law enforcement training at the S.C.
Criminal Justice Academy. Still, some can carry guns and make arrests. The
state certifies them, but their training is offered by technical colleges.
State Rep. Terry Alexander, a Democrat whose district covers the
neighborhood where the shooting happened, said he had heard troubling
details about the episode that has prompted his own inquiry into standards
for constables. “I’m still trying to get an understanding of their
authority, their training … and who has oversight over what they’re
doing,” Alexander said. “The city officer wasn’t in harm’s way, so why did
the constable shoot?” The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating
whether the shooting was justified. The Florence Police Department said it
is also performing an internal review. The injured man was taken to an area
hospital, though his condition Monday was not known. SLED spokesman Thom
Berry said he was told Sunday that the man was expected to survive.