Activists urge body cameras for deputies after shooting - FOX Carolina 21

Activists urge body cameras for deputies after shooting

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Activists call for body cameras after deputy-involved shooting Tuesday (FOX Carolina) Activists call for body cameras after deputy-involved shooting Tuesday (FOX Carolina)

A community activist is says the Greenville County Sheriff's Office is long overdue to get body cameras, but deputies say it all depends on when they get funding. 

The call comes after a deputy-involved shooting Tuesday on Bruce Road, when cops say a knife-wielding man was shot and injured after repeated commands to drop his weapon. The deputies were serving an arrest warrant at Turning Point halfway home. 

"They gave repeated commands to put the knife down," said Sheriff Steve Loftis Tuesday. "The suspect ignored the lawful commands that the deputies gave him."

No body camera footage exists of the incident because deputies have not yet received them. Spokesman Ryan Flood said Wednesday GCSO is still awaiting federal funding after receiving a state award of $135,000 toward the purchase of body-worn cameras.

"Once that gets in we have allotted for the purchasing of 125 body cameras," said Flood. "And we are hoping to have them purchased by mid-November and have them outfitted on their deputies by the beginning of the year.

Community activist Bruce Wilson said Wednesday the cameras are long overdue. 

"We have been engaged in conversations with this sheriff for more than two years about body cameras," said Wilson, founder of the group Fighting Injustice Together (FIT). "Even the city police are getting body cameras. There's no reason why this department shouldn't have body cameras."

Wilson also said recent lawsuits filed by families of people shot by deputies are costing taxpayers money, while the sheriff takes a "lackadaisical" approach to this issue.

"We can't control when we receive this money," said Flood. "When we receive the money, we will abide by state law and make this purchase."

The State Law Enforcement Division has taken over investigation of the deputy-involved shooting. The man's name and condition have not been released. 

This was the fifth shooting involving a Greenville County deputy in 2016, according to SLED, and the 35th of the year in South Carolina.

Money owed by embattled strip club Platinum Plus will also go toward the purchase of more cameras, deputies said. 

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