Jury sees patrol car video

  • Follow Metro

GREENVILLE, S.C. --- A federal jury that must decide whether a South Carolina state trooper deliberately rammed a fleeing suspect with his patrol car watched a video of the incident Tuesday and heard the officer bragging.

"Yeah, I hit him. I was trying to hit him," Lance Cpl. Steven Garren says to a sheriff's deputy on the video.

Despite Lance Cpl. Garren's boasting, his lawyer argued that the trooper tried to avoid hitting Marvin Grant, who was running from police after trying to elude officers in his car in June 2007.

Lance Cpl. Garren is charged with using unreasonable force and depriving Mr. Grant of his civil rights. Lane Cpl. Garren is white; Mr. Grant is black.

If convicted, the suspended officer could face a maximum 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The officer's dashboard camera captured the chase, which was no more than 15 mph, and shows Mr. Grant flipping over the patrol car's hood as he is struck.

During testimony, two Greenwood County sheriff's deputies also said Lance Cpl. Garren bragged about hitting Mr. Grant. Sgt. Derrick Smith recalled asking the trooper about striking the suspect.

"Yeah, I was trying to," Sgt. Smith said the trooper told him.

The other deputy, Brad Ware, said he called his supervisor because he was worried Mr. Grant might have been injured.

Mr. Grant told jurors he cut in front of the cruiser when he saw an opening in the woods. The car knocked him down, but he "just bounced right up and kept running," Mr. Grant said. "I wasn't thinking about no pain."

He said he began to hurt a short distance later and couldn't run anymore. Authorities couldn't find him.

A day later, Mr. Grant said, he tried to turn himself in but an officer told him they would call if he was wanted. The call never came, and Mr. Grant didn't face any charges.

Mr. Grant said he spent three weeks on crutches, but he never saw a doctor. He is now in jail for failing to pay child support.

Lance Cpl. Garren's attorney, John O'Leary, said in his opening arguments that the officer was just doing his job.

"He was pursuing a criminal and now they want to make him a criminal," Mr. O'Leary told jurors. "There was no way -- no way -- he could have avoided hitting him."

Mr. O'Leary also showed jurors a video of Lance Cpl. Garren handling a domestic violence complaint, saying it was an example of the officer responding calmly and professionally to tense situations.

Lance Cpl. Garren's trial is the first of two federal civil rights trials to come from a spate of police videos that showed questionable tactics by South Carolina troopers. The videos and how supervisors treated the officers on them brought the ousters of the heads of the Highway Patrol and the Department of Public Safety earlier this year.

Comments (9) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
gapeach08
0
Points
gapeach08 10/01/08 - 04:53 am
0
0
Its so sad that the law

Its so sad that the law enforcement that we pay out of tax payers money can make and break these same laws they took oath to enforce. They say JUSTICE is blind, Yeah until the defendant is BLACK, and the blindfold comes off. This is the SOUTH!!!

pantherluvcik
628
Points
pantherluvcik 10/01/08 - 05:36 am
0
0
For someone to brag about

For someone to brag about hitting another human being, not even knowing if he was laying somewhere bleeding to death is beyond evil. He should lose his job and atleast get probation, I don't think he should go to jail, but he definitely should be punished.

christian134
1
Points
christian134 10/01/08 - 05:44 am
0
0
He was running and in my book

He was running and in my book that gives the officer every right to stop him with whatever means available...What he said was just adrenalin talking...Quite frankly I am tired and really sick to death of the criminal always having more rights than the victims...It has led to what is happening now...Policemen getting afraid to do their jobs because of the hypocritical backlash of "joe public"...

ibbwalkingtomempheis
0
Points
ibbwalkingtomempheis 10/01/08 - 06:37 am
0
0
Christian you are dead right.

Christian you are dead right. The criminal was braking the law anjd the trooper had every right to use whatever force was necessary. From the criminals own mouth he states he cut across the front of the vehicle. All this amounts is a black representatives witch hunt. I wish the trooper well!

426Hemi
0
Points
426Hemi 10/01/08 - 07:50 am
0
0
Bravado was talking as stated

Bravado was talking as stated above. The clown ran directly into the cruisers path. No harm done. He wasn't even thinking about no pain cause he had none. I bet the little pud shows up with a neck brace, limping into court, and his lawyer(s) "assisting" him to the seat. Riiiggghhhhtttt...The only victim is the cop!

InChristLove
22485
Points
InChristLove 10/01/08 - 08:13 am
0
0
I agree that the officer was

I agree that the officer was running off at the mouth and what he said wasn't right but lets back up a minute. "The officer's dashboard camera captured the chase, which was no more than 15 mph". I live in a neighborhood where the speed limit is 20 mph, do you know how hard it is to drive this slow. If the suspect ran in front of the vehicle, flipped over the hood, and continued running, I can see where he might have been a little sore but crutches for 3 weeks. The officer might should be reprimanded, maybe a few days off without pay, but I can't see where this would warrant him loosing his job.

KingJames
11
Points
KingJames 10/01/08 - 08:43 am
0
0
The officer should not have

The officer should not have bragged about the situation. He should have let the evidence from the video do all the talking. If he is guilty of anything it is having a big mouth. The criminal/victim in this case should have gone to the hospital and gotten documented proof that he was involved in a hit and run (even if he was the person literally doing the running). The cops had already told him he wasn't wanted on any charges so he should have gone to the hospital where the doctors would have called the police to investigate. If you ask me, both the trooper and the criminal/victim acted carelessly. The trooper because he talked too much about the incident, and the criminal/victim because he ran in front of the cruiser. And for the people who want to put race in it, stupidity has no color.

Reality
3
Points
Reality 10/01/08 - 11:50 am
0
0
what was he running for, he

what was he running for, he said he was looking to the woods to make a break for it. they should have arrested him if he called in. the city/county will have to pay.......glad to see he is in jail on another charge, please protect the criminals at all costs.

InChristLove
22485
Points
InChristLove 10/01/08 - 12:09 pm
0
0
The article said "a fleeing

The article said "a fleeing suspect". What was he a suspect in and why did he run? Seems to me he brought this on himself. If it was for not paying child support, he ended up in jail for it anyway. You absolutely right KingJames "stupidity has no color".

Back to Top
loading...
Search Augusta jobs