Dash-cam video in Hammond shooting
The Greenville News and two other area newspapers have filed a lawsuit against the State Law Enforcement Division in an effort to gain access to video and other public records in the case of Zachary Hammond. He was the 19-year who was killed by a Seneca police officer on the night of July 26, and many questions that surround his death most likely could be cleared up by the police dash camera videos from that deadly encounter.
This lawsuit should not be necessary because SLED should have released these records, including the dash cam video that should be most informative, at least a month ago. Serious questions surround the shooting and there are conflicting stories about what happened that night in the parking lot of a Hardee’s restaurant. Law enforcement video has been released in other high-profile incidents and there’s no good reason for law enforcement to continue to shield records concerning Hammond’s death. …
The newspapers argued that there is no reason to refuse to release the video and records because “there is no prospective law enforcement action to be undertaken by defendant, there is no risk of endangering the life, health or property of any person, and there are no matters exempted from disclosure by other statute or law.”
Gag order in Emanuel AME Church massacre
The families of the victims, and the public who mourn with them, deserve as much information as possible about that dreadful June night when nine souls were shot dead during Bible study at Emanuel AME Church.
Ninth Circuit Judge J.C. Nicholson made the right move Wednesday when he lifted portions of the gag order he had imposed on the case in July.
Now the public will be able to review transcripts of the 911 calls about the murders, and read documents associated with the shootings.
Such review is important to reveal how officials handled the situation and whether they could have handled anything better. …
The mass murder at the church was a horrifying event, but it would make things even worse if we fail to learn all the lessons the tragedy might provide.
Paying for roads after the floods
For now, a special session of the Legislature to deal with flooding doesn’t seem like the best use of public dollars, especially since the state doesn’t have estimates on the extent of the problem.
However, dealing with the flood — and its impact on the state’s infrastructure — must be the top priority when lawmakers return. This dialogue should also reinforce the need to find a long-term, comprehensive plan to deal with our needs related to roads, bridges and dams.
This issue largely became a political pox for the Legislature this past session with the debate becoming bogged down by certain demands of legislators, as well as S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley.
However, the longer the state waits to make an initial investment in road funding, the greater it will cost to pay for upgrades. This doesn’t mean the General Assembly should write a blank check to the state’s Department of Transportation. The real trouble with South Carolina’s roads isn’t wholly a lack of money. Any real effort to address these roads issues must also involve taking a closer look at the bureaucratic structure of the state’s Transportation Department. The agency and the current system of prioritization and funding roads projects has been marred by criticisms of little transparency and being generated through a complex formula.