FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – The man shot by a constable during a traffic stop in Florence told ABC World News Tonight “I didn’t deserve to be shot three times. Now I have to live with it for the rest of my life.”
ABC World News Tonight aired the interview with Brandon Fludd Thursday night.
A Florence police officer said he stopped Fludd on Saturday night because his car crossed the center line of the road. Constable Christopher Bachochin was riding with the police officer. Another police unit also responded to the traffic stop.
In body camera video released by the Florence Police Department Tuesday, the police officer said he smelled marijuana and repeatedly asked Fludd to get out of his car. Fludd repeatedly refused.
“Honestly, I’m not stepping out of my car, for what?” Fludd replied. “I’m not stepping out my car right now. Can’t you just run my information?”
A few seconds later, body camera video appeared to show Fludd’s foot on the car’s accelerator. The officer repeatedly said, “Stop.” Fludd’s car reversed and hit a police cruiser. The constable fired eight shots at his car.
After a few seconds, Fludd’s car raced away. He ended up in the hospital with three gunshot wounds, according to his attorney Robert Stucks.
“Next time someone tells you to get out of the car, they tell you directly, listen to them because it could’ve end worse,” Fludd told ABC News.
When the police officer asked the constable whether he was okay after the shooting, he replied, “[Expletive] almost ran me over.”
No one has been charged for the traffic stop or shooting. Twelfth Circuit Solicitor Ed Clements told News13 on Wednesday he handed the case over to the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office.
“Possible conflicts or an appearance of a conflict of interest need to be avoided to ensure fairness and confidence in the process,” Clements said. “We have connections on both sides of this situation so the AG will handle this. They have put a lot of study recently into officer-involved shootings and are well equipped to deal with this.”
The two Florence police officers who didn’t shoot at Flood had recently received training for “moving vehicles and deadly force” at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy, training records show. Constable Christopher Bachochin, who was riding along with Florence police, didn’t receive the same training at the Criminal Justice Academy, records show.
Law enforcement officers in South Carolina are taught to avoid shooting into vehicles. After SLED noticed an increase of officers shooting into cars, the agency created a video to educate officers about tactical positioning. News13 reported about the new training in May 2017.
“The video does not instruct officers not to shoot if the vehicle is used as a weapon,” Florence McCants, the public information officer for the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy told News13. “What it does teach is how and not to place oneself in a disadvantageous position.”
Constables must complete “SLED-approved annual in-service training” each year. Constables get less than a fifth of the training that regular police officers get, the AP reported. SLED policies allow constables to train at technical colleges and the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. They can also receive training from certified law enforcement instructors and other approved providers.
Fludd’s attorney criticized the constable’s training. “…You have two trained law enforcement officers on that scene, neither of which fired their weapons. I don’t even think they actually drew their weapons,” Stucks said. “I think it’s telling and it’s disturbing that we had this untrained constable out there and he made a decision to fire into Mr. Fludd’s car. It’s a problem.”
News13 requested the constable’s training record from SLED. The agency refused to release the records because they’re part of the case file for the shooting.
Records from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy show Bachochin worked for the Darlington Police Department from 1998 to 2003.
News13 hasn’t been able to get in contact with Bachochin.
The Florence Police Department has put its constable program on hold since Saturday’s shooting.