A pre-filed bill in the South Carolina Senate, intended to change rules regarding the handling of officer-involved shootings across the state, was pushed through a Senate subcommittee Tuesday afternoon, and will now go to the full judiciary committee.
The bill, originally proposed by Senator Gerald Malloy of Hartsville after the 2014 Michael Brown shooting, would declare that the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) is the only agency that can investigate officer-involved shootings in the state, except in certain circumstances.
In October of 2018, Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone contacted the Richland County Sheriff’s Department to investigate the deadly Vintage Place neighborhood officer ambush, instead of SLED.
Part of the re-filed bill also states that if an officer involved in a shooting is employed by SLED, the sheriff of the county where the shooting happened would be required to investigate. In the event that it included both an employee of SLED and the sheriff, the solicitor would defer to a different law enforcement agency.
On Tuesday, senators discussed changing some language for the bill to include shootings in which the officers are victims.
The widow of Florence Police Sergeant Terrence Carraway, who was killed in October’s ambush, shared her support for the bill Tuesday as she spoke to lawmakers.
Allison Carraway said that there needs to be a state protocol in place that requires SLED investigate these type of incidents so she and others in similar situations know where to go for answers.
“A grief-stricken family of a law enforcement officer should not have to figure out who to contact or wonder who will contact them in the event such as my family experienced,” Allison told senators.
Allison says that although the ambush happened on October 3rd, it wasn’t until November 28th that she received criminal information regarding her husband’s case from the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.
Allison added that she has not received any information as to why the Florence County Sheriff’s Office wanted Richland County over SLED.
Count on News13 for updates on this bill as it makes its way through Columbia.
You can also take a look at information from past reports filed for Fred and Seth Hopkins, who are charged in connection to last October’s ambush. The Hopkins are still being held at the Florence County Detention Center, according to Florence County booking records.