GEORGETOWN COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — A Hemingway police officer was charged Wednesday after shooting a suspect Sunday after a chase that ended in Georgetown County, according to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.
Officer Cassandra Dollard, 52, was arrested Wednesday in Berkeley County and charged with voluntary manslaughter, according to SLED. Dollard shot and killed Robert Junior Langley, who was unarmed.
About a dozen family members showed up Wednesday outside of the Georgetown County courthouse, visibly shaken, to meet with SLED and 15th Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson to view dashcam footage from Sunday. It’s unclear if the footage will be released to the public.
Langley’s family said the footage shows an unjustified killing and called for swift justice.
“This was a special part of my heart,” his mother Roslyn Langley said. “When they took him, they took my heart away.”
Langley leaves behind 10 children and a 3-month-old granddaughter.
“That’s going to be on my heart until his children be able to get taken care of,” Roslyn Langley said.
“I only had one picture with him and that was when I graduated from high school,” his son Robert Pressley said. “Although we don’t have a lot of pictures, we do have memories. Lots of memories.”
Dollard tried to pull over Langley for running a stop sign, according to SLED. Langley crashed his car into a ditch at the intersection of Chopee and Schoolhouse roads after a chase that reached speeds of 100 mph. An arrest warrant confirms Langley was unarmed and was trying to get out of his car after crashing.
Langley was shot by Dollard one time in the chest, according to SLED. Dollard said she feared for her safety even though she never saw a weapon. Langley later died at Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital from his injuries.
SLED said Dollard had no authority to arrest Langley outside of Williamsburg County.
“I don’t know what she was thinking,” his sister Nicola Langley said. “I don’t know what was going on, but if she knew him, she would’ve known there was nothing to worry about. My brother’s not violent. Not evil. Not any of that.”
Langley’s family was joined at the press conference by South Carolina Senator Gerald Malloy and civil rights attorney Bakari Sellers.
“They were able to see him being shot unjustifiably,” Sellers said. “They were able to hear him gargling blood and fighting for air for his life. They were able to go through and see every image that you dare not want to see.”
Richardson said showing families of those involved in officer-involved shootings is about being upfront and transparent.
“It dispels any rumors and dispels misinformation,” Richardson said. “Not in the media but on social media and word on the street.”
Dollard is expected to have a bond hearing Thursday morning.
Dollard has worked in law enforcement since 1992, according to employment and training documents obtained by News13. She started with the Hemingway Police Department in September. The documents would not show recent changes in employment status. News13 reached out to the Hemingway Police Department to confirm Dollard’s status with the department and has not heard back.
Dollard was fired from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety in 2014 for alleged violations of two policies related to discipline, according to the documents. She was also fired in April 2002 from the Johnsonville Police Department “for poor performance.”
In 2014, Dollard was fired for shooting at dogs while off duty, using her SCDPS weapon, and not reporting it for hours, according to a firing memo obtained by News13.
Dollard also got in trouble in 2014 after getting “frustrated and visibly angry” while responding to a disabled vehicle, according to a federal lawsuit where the officer claimed racial discrimination. She “struck the motorist’s vehicle with her hand,” according to the suit, and body cam video showed her saying “what in the hell is wrong with this crazy woman” while talking about the stranded driver.
Dollard also faced allegations of using her blue lights to “simply clear traffic for convenience’s sake.”
By late August, 2014, according to the suit, it had been determined that Dollard was consistently failing to follow procedure in a number of ways, including: “failing to call in traffic stops to communications; failing to document out-of-service drivers and vehicles; and failing to wear her issued body armor.”
She was also accused of “failing to make the proper charge against a motorist, working outside of her assigned zone without prior approval, using her vehicle’s blue lights simply to clear traffic for convenience’s sake rather than as part of a law enforcement activity, and failing to show up for court on two separate occasions in May 2014.”
Dollard has also previously worked for the Williamsburg County Detention Center, Lake City Police Department, and the St. Stephen Police Department, documents show.
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