Civil Rights Attorney South Carolina - PDF

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					                                                PRESS NOTICE

                                       W. WALTER WILKINS

                                     UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

                                   DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA

                     1441 Main Street, Suite 500 * Columbia, SC 29201 * (803) 929-3000*

                                           June 10, 2008

                  (803) 929-3000


       Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney W. Walter Wilkins and

Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights

Division in Washington, D.C., stated today that a federal grand jury in Greenville,

South Carolina, issued an indictment today charging South Carolina Highway

Patrolman Steve C. Garren, age 39, of Greenwood, with a federal civil rights violation.

       The indictment alleges that on June 24, 2007, Garren struck a man with his

patrol vehicle resulting in bodily injury to the man. The indictment further alleges that

Garren’s actions willfully deprived the man of his constitutional right to be free from the

use of unreasonable force by a law enforcement officer.

       Mr. Wilkins stated, “Allegations of law enforcement abuse are serious, and must

be considered carefully. I am confident the grand jury has done just that in issuing this

        The charge follows an investigation by federal and state authorities after a video

of the alleged incident was shown by television and internet media outlets earlier this


        Mr. Wilkins stated, “The joint investigation into the conduct of certain members of

the South Carolina Highway Patrol is ongoing, and I anticipate additional presentations

to the federal grand jury. Our office will continue to work with the FBI, SLED, and the

Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice to identify those cases that are

appropriate for federal prosecution.”

        Mr. Wilkins further stated, “I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the

cooperation of the South Carolina Highway Patrol in this joint investigation. I also want

to make clear that the overwhelming majority of troopers serve the citizens of this state

with honor and distinction everyday. It’s important that this investigation continue, not

only for the public’s confidence, but for their benefit as well.”

        Mr. Wilkins stated the maximum penalty Garren could receive is a fine of

$250,000.00 and imprisonment for ten years.

        The case was investigated by special agents of the South Carolina Law

Enforcement Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being

prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Alston C. Badger and Civil Rights

Division Deputy Chief Brent Alan Gray.

        The United States Attorney stated that all charges in this Indictment are

merely accusations and that all defendants are presumed innocent until and

unless proven guilty.


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