Opinion Extra

Editorials from across South Carolina: race & police, Pascoe v Wilson, Group Homes

US Sen Tim Scott
US Sen Tim Scott AP

Group homes

A three-day investigative report published last week by The Greenville News begs many more answers about the way South Carolina and its contractors manage the care of the state’s most vulnerable adults.

Investigative reporter Rick Brundrett spent seven months poring over records and conducting interviews as he explored the deaths of three clients in group homes run by South Carolina Mentor, a division of a national company that operates homes for vulnerable adults. Mentor is overseen by the state Department of Disabilities and Special Needs.

NEWS COVERAGE: Company gets $20M state contract despite concerns

The investigation looked at a very small sample of cases, but raises important questions about how well the state is fulfilling its duty to care for these adults who have very serious intellectual or other developmental issues, and how well the state is monitoring the companies it authorizes to carry out those duties. …

Families of group home residents as well as taxpayers should demand answers. Systems that are in place to protect group home clients need to be maintained and procedures followed. The state needs to follow up on maintenance. It also needs to ensure policies – those mandated by the state or put in place by the contractors – are being consistently followed. If a procedure is not being followed, it should not be used to give clients’ family members a false sense of security.

Tim Scott, police & community

Tim Scott’s position as a U.S. senator from South Carolina hasn’t given him a pass. Like many other black men, he has been stopped by police — seven times in one year alone.

SCOPPE: What if they were your neighbors?

So the conservative Republican is weighing in on the long-simmering question of what role racial bias has in policing.

It’s a question worthy of his time and effort — and requiring involvement of both police and the community. …

The overarching goal of establishing a trustworthy, mutually respectful relationship between police officers and citizens is the right one to pursue in this diverse community. Law enforcement officers need tools and insights to be effective and fair. Citizens need reason to trust that officers are doing their best to be equitable in the way they enforce laws.

Not doing this work of healing could be dangerous to individuals and to the community at large, if anger and distrust were to boil over.

Post & Courier

Charleston

Pascoe v. Wilson

In rebuking Wilson, the court rejected all his arguments about Pascoe. It stated the attorney general cannot remove him as special prosecutor. And it ruled that Pascoe, as special prosecutor, does have authority to take the case to the state grand jury.

The decision is a victory for Pascoe but a bigger victory for the process of investigating public corruption. If a special prosecutor is to be able to independently perform the duties of the post, he must have the authority to use the tools without interference. After removing himself from the case for potential conflict of interest, the attorney general must not be able to reinsert his authority over the special prosecutor.

Expressing happiness with the decision, Pascoe did not gloat. Though after the attacks he endured during the process, no one would have blamed him for doing so.

SCOPPE: How the Supreme Court just changed SC law, constitution

Asked specifically about the accusations by Wilson and his allies, Pascoe told The Times and Democrat: “I am not going to address Wilson’s press conference other than to say of the many mistaken claims made by Attorney General Wilson and his attorney, Mitch Brown from Nelson Mullins, the most disturbing was the allegation that Chief Mark Keel and I committed an illegal act. Today the Supreme Court rejected that argument.”

The special prosecutor now has no obstacle in his way to pushing the investigation forward, which is exactly what he should do, making any use of the state grand jury that he sees as necessary.

Times & Democrat

Orangeburg

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