State police say they are investigating the circumstances that led to a Dorchester County deputy shooting and killing a Ridgeville man following a chase this weekend.
The State Law Enforcement Division said it is investigating the incident that involved a Highway Patrol trooper and several Dorchester County sheriff’s deputies. Meanwhile, a civil rights group active in the Charleston area called for “transparency” in the investigation, including the release of any dashboard camera or body camera footage.
The Dorchester County Coroner’s Office identified the man shot by deputies as 24-year-old Shamir Palmer. His autopsy is scheduled for Monday.
The Highway Patrol said a trooper had tried to stop Palmer for speeding around 3:00 a.m. Saturday, but the other driver would not pull over. The trooper reported that Palmer slowed down and two other men jumped out of the car to flee on foot. At this point, the Highway Patrol said at least one shot was fired from inside the car. The trooper pursued the two other men (who were detained, but not arrested) while Dorchester County deputies soon renewed the chase.
The deputies said they chased Palmer’s vehicle down a dead-end road about five miles west of Summerville. Eventually, he crashed into a home and the three deputies on the scene said he stepped out of the car with an object in his hand that they believed to be a weapon. The deputies said they ordered Palmer to drop the object, but he did not respond. The deputies then began shooting. Authorities did not say how many shots were fired.
Palmer died on the scene. Investigators have not yet said what he was holding when the officers opened fire. The three deputies are on administrative leave until SLED finishes its investigation, as is normal procedures for any officer-involved shooting in South Carolina.
The Charleston-area chapter of the National Action Network released a letter calling on investigators to release any video evidence of the incident, as well as any forensic evidence showing Palmer had fired his own gun. “We are not going to stand by and accept the killings of our youth,” the letter states. “We are no longer going to accept a one sided story from the Police Dept. (Dorchester County Sheriff’s Department was the agency involved)… We will not stop until we feel that we have an honest investigation into the death of this young man. A life has been taken and we expect answers.”
Palmer had a minor criminal history in Dorchester County. Court records indicate previous convictions for drug manufacturing, failure to stop for blue lights, and assault and battery of a highly aggravated nature.