CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Senator Tim Scott reintroduced a bill this week to establish a federal database for officer-involved shootings.
The Walter Scott Notification Act, is named after a North Charleston man who was killed during a routine traffic stop in 2015.
In a statement, Senator Tim Scott said, “My heart is broken over the events of the last week, from the needless murder of George Floyd, to the tragic death of retired St. Louis police captain David Dorn. When it comes to race and justice in this nation, solutions are needed now. I want to thank Chairman Grassley and Senators Ernst and Lankford for joining me in reintroducing the Walter Scott Notification Act. The fact is, without proper data in regards to officer-related shootings, we cannot find lasting solutions in this area. I will continue working in the coming weeks to introduce new solutions around race, justice, and ensuring people of all colors and economic classes have the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.”
If passed, it would require States to submit all officers and victims names, ages, sexes and races who are involved in the shooting. I would also require States disclose whether the victim was armed, what happened during the incident and whether or not it was found to be justified.
This information, Horry County Solicitor, Jimmy Richardson says, would be easy to provide.
“That information has never been tracked at the federal level,” he explains. “For our area and our state, it would be very easy to turn over this information if there was a Walter Scott law now. It would be easy to say, here’s what we’ve got. That consistency isn’t the same through all 50 states; this would make it.”
Right now in South Carolina, Richardson says, outside agencies have to investigate officer-involved shootings.
For example, Richland County authorities investigated the Florence Police ambush in 2018.
“You don’t want the same agency that has been accused of use of force investigating their own,” Richardson said.
If the bill is passed and states don’t comply, they could face a 10% reduction in federal grants.