South Carolina

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Click a "Get Template" button to get an email template about a specific issue. Edit the template to connect on a more personal level with your lawmaker. See the Contacting Logistics page for information about how to write an effective email to your lawmakers. Get your lawmakers' emails with the search box to the right. Send the email!

Be sure to check out the Next Steps at the bottom of the page. Go to the References/Further Reading page to see our sources and do some research of your own.

Last updated March 5, 2020

Summary

Key:

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Legislation Achieved

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Some Progress

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No Progress

Demilitarization

Learn about demilitarization and the specific issues below on the Demilitarization page (opens in a new window).

 

No knock warrants

Some Progress:

The South Carolina Supreme Court has temporarily ordered judges to stop issuing no-knock warrants. Though this action isn't permanent, it points to a potential shift in judicial view of these laws.

1033 purchases

No Progress:

South Carolina has not yet enacted a law ending its participation in programs that facilitate the transfer of military weapons from the federal government to police departments.

Military style training

Some Progress:

South Carolina officers are required to undergo mandatory racial bias, diversity, and de-escalation training at the academy. Recently, the head of the SC Law Enforcement Council talked about the need to extend that training beyond the academy and instead require mandatory programs.

SWAT data

No Progress:

South Carolina has not yet enacted a law requiring the recording and cataloging of SWAT team use.

For Profit Policing

Learn about for profit policing and the specific issues below on the For Profit Policing page (opens in a new window).

 

Civil asset forfeiture

No Progress:

South Carolina has not yet enacted a law ending civil asset forfeiture.

Quotas

Some Progress:

In 2016, South Carolina enacted a law banning law enforcement agencies from requiring officers to meet quotas for the number of citations issued during a designated period of time. It also banned law enforcement agencies from evaluating an officer's performance based on the officer's points of contact. However, leaked memos from several departments in 2017 and 2018 suggest that informal quotas are still enforced.

Cost of misconduct

No Progress:

South Carolina has not yet enacted a law requiring police departments (not state general funds) to cover the cost of misconduct. As of July 2020, the Insurance Reserve Fund, a division of the South Carolina State Fiscal Accountability Authority, covers fees and settlements in police misconduct cases. From 2015 to 2019, payouts in claims related to law enforcement in South Carolina increased 50 percent.

Broken Windows Policing

Learn about broken windows policing and the specific issues below on the Broken Windows Policing page (opens in a new window).

 

Minor offenses

No Progress:

South Carolina has not yet enacted a law decriminalizing minor offenses that do not threaten public safety such as spitting and loitering. Notably, in 2018 several USC students used a crosswalk at an intersection while the red hand was displayed--they were all given $232 citations for jaywalking.

Objective justification for stops

No Progress:

South Carolina has not yet enacted a law requiring officers to establish objective justification for making a stop (i.e. not simply for furtive movement, suspicious activity, or matching a generalized description). Common and accepted justifications for stops include a) information the police officer receives from others regarding the situation b) the suspect’s proximity to where a crime was recently committed c) the suspect’s reaction to the police officer’s presence, such as fleeing or attempting to hide d) the prior level of criminal activity in the area the suspect is located and e) the officer’s knowledge of the suspect’s prior criminal record.

Reporting stop details

Some Progress:

South Carolina Department of Public Safety releases annual public contact reports. Each public contact report, which is issued anytime a vehicle is stopped without making an arrest, must include the age, gender, and race or ethnicity of the person stopped. However, the state does not have clear laws about pedestrian stop reporting requirements.

Accountability

Learn about accountability and the specific issues below on the Accountability page (opens in a new window).

 

Reckless civil rights violation

No Progress:

South Carolina has not yet enacted a law lowering the prosecution requirement from ‘willful’ to ‘reckless’ deprivation of another’s rights.

Independent investigation

Some Progress:

South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) is technically the “independent” state police agency that investigates officer-involved shootings. However, so many SLED officers come from local departments that they often end up investigating their old colleagues. These connections eliminate any possibility of objectivity.

Qualified immunity

No Progress:

South Carolina has not yet enacted a law ending qualified immunity.

Reinvesting in Communities

Learn about reinvesting in communities and the specific issues below on the Reinvesting in Communities page (opens in a new window).

 

Mental health response

Some Progress:

South Carolina has a statewide call number "where a family member, law enforcement, a patient or EMS can call for help with someone in psychiatric crisis,” she said. “Then the call will be triaged by a clinician on the phone ... and a determination will be made if an onsite response is needed. If it is, a team of two master's level clinicians will respond within 60 minutes along with law enforcement."

Education, Housing, Community Health Resources

No Progress:

It is important to note that policing does not address the roots of social disadvantage and barriers to (economic) opportunity that often lead to crime. Nor should police be burdened with that responsibility.
Without access to quality resources in healthcare, education, and housing, our cities, neighborhoods, and families will continue to suffer. We should instead reassess the budgets of the state government and reinvest in the services that matter most.

Next Steps

No matter what, register to vote:

Contacting officials is just one piece of the puzzle we can't stop there. We need to make sure our elected officials reflect our values and support reform at every level of government. Register here:

To keep these policies at the forefront:

Keep emailing about them (if you just finished the 5 Days Challenge, keep up the schedule—set reminders in your phone to email about each issue on its specific day).

To ask for more than this:

Use our templates as a model to ask for bigger changes. Color for Change and The Movement for Black Lives both have specific policy related to a reimagined law enforcement system. If you think there are additional policies we ought to consider, send your thoughts our way.

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