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TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING CHAPTER 22 TO TITLE 23 SO AS TO DEFINE MINORITY GROUP, PROVIDE FOR THE COLLECTION AND COMPILATION OF CERTAIN INFORMATION GATHERED BY A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER TO DETERMINE WHETHER TRAFFIC AND PEDESTRIAN STOPS HE MAKES ARE RACE-BASED, TO PROVIDE THAT EACH LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY SHALL ADOPT A POLICY TO DISCOURAGE RACE-BASED TRAFFIC AND PEDESTRIAN STOPS, TO PROVIDE THAT THE GOVERNOR MAY WITHHOLD STATE FUNDS FROM A LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY WHICH FAILS TO COMPLY WITH THE PROVISIONS CONTAINED IN THIS CHAPTER, TO ALLOW A LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY TO USE CERTAIN FEDERAL FUNDS TO EQUIP ITS VEHICLES WITH VIDEO EQUIPMENT TO RECORD TRAFFIC AND PEDESTRIAN STOPS, AND TO ALLOW LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO ESTABLISH CIVILIAN REVIEW BOARDS OR USE EXISTING REVIEW BOARDS TO INVESTIGATE ALLEGATIONS OF MISCONDUCT BY LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Title 23 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
Section 23-22-10. (A) As used in this chapter, 'minority group' means persons of African, Hispanic, Native American, or Asian descent.
(B) When a law enforcement officer stops a driver or a pedestrian based upon probable cause or reasonable suspicion that a violation of a state statute or local ordinance has occurred, the law enforcement officer shall report the following information to the law enforcement agency that employs him:
(1) the age, gender, and race or minority group of the person stopped;
(2) the traffic or pedestrian violation or suspicious behavior that led to the stop;
(3) whether a search was conducted as a result of the stop;
(4) if a search was conducted, whether the person consented to the search, the probable cause or reasonable suspicion for the search, whether the person or his property was searched;
(5) whether any contraband was discovered in the course of the search and the type of any contraband discovered;
(6) whether a warning or citation was issued as a result of the stop;
(7) if a warning or citation was issued, the violation charged or warning provided;
(8) whether an arrest was made as a result of either the stop or the search;
(9) if an arrest was made, the crime charged; and
(10) the location of the stop.
This information must be reported using a format determined by the Department of Public Safety.
(C) Each law enforcement agency shall compile the data described in subsection (B) of this section for a calendar year and submit it to the Director of the Department of Public Safety no later than March first of the following calendar year. The Department of Public Safety shall determine the format that each law enforcement agency shall use to submit the report. The Director of the Department of Public Safety shall analyze the annual reports submitted by each agency and submit a report of his findings to the Governor, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of the Senate, and each law enforcement agency not later than June first of each year. The Director of the Department of Public Safety report must include at least the following information for each agency:
(1) the number of motor vehicles and pedestrians stopped by law enforcement officers during the previous calendar year;
(2) the number and percentage of stopped motor vehicles that were driven by members of each minority group and the number and percentage of pedestrians stopped in each minority group;
(3) a comparison of the percentage of stopped motor vehicles driven by each minority group, a comparison of the percentage of minority pedestrians stopped, and the percentage of the state's population that each minority group comprises; and
(4) a compilation of the information reported by each law enforcement agency pursuant to this subsection.
(D) Each law enforcement agency shall adopt a policy on race-based traffic stops that:
(1) prohibits the practice of routinely stopping members of minority groups for violations of vehicle and pedestrian statutes and ordinances as a pretext for investigating other violations of criminal law; and
(2) provides for periodic review by the law enforcement agency of the annual report of the Director of the Department of Public Safety required by subsection (C) of this section to determine whether a law enforcement officer of that agency has a pattern of stopping members of minority groups for violations of vehicle and pedestrian statutes and ordinances in a number disproportionate to the population of minority groups residing or traveling within the jurisdiction of the law enforcement agency. If the review reveals a pattern of race-based traffic or pedestrian stops, the agency must conduct an investigation to determine whether any officers of the law enforcement agency routinely stop members of minority groups for violations of vehicle or pedestrian statutes or ordinances as a pretext for investigating other violations of criminal law;
(3) provides for appropriate counseling and training of a law enforcement officer found to have been engaged in race-based traffic or pedestrian stops within ninety days of the review; and
(4) provides for annual sensitivity training for any employee who may conduct stops of motor vehicles or pedestrians in violation of the prohibition against racial profiling. The training must stress understanding and respect for racial and cultural differences and the development of effective, noncombative methods of carrying out law enforcement duties in a racially and culturally diverse environment.
(E) If a law enforcement agency fails to comply with the provisions of this section, the governor may withhold any state funds or federal pass-through funds appropriated to the noncompliant law enforcement agency.
(F) If a law enforcement agency fails to comply with the provisions of this section, the Director of the Department of Public Safety may withhold accreditation of the noncompliant law enforcement agency.
(G) A law enforcement agency in this State may utilize available federal funds to equip each vehicle used for traffic and pedestrian stops with a video camera and voice-activated microphone.
Section 23-22-20. (A) Each municipality or county may establish a civilian review board, or may use an existing civilian review board which has been appointed by the local governing body, with the authority to investigate allegations of misconduct by local law enforcement officers towards members of the public. The members shall not receive compensation but shall receive reimbursement from the local governing body for all reasonable and necessary expenses.
(B) The board shall have the power to receive complaints, and investigate, make findings, and recommend disciplinary action upon complaints by members of the public against members of the law enforcement agency that allege misconduct involving excessive use of force, abuse of authority, discourtesy, or use of offensive language, including, but not limited to, slurs relating to race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and disability. The findings and recommendations of the board and the basis for their findings must be submitted to the chief law enforcement official. A finding or recommendation must not be based solely upon an unsworn complaint or statement, nor shall prior unsubstantiated, unfounded, or withdrawn complaints be the basis for any findings or recommendations."
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
This web page was last updated on Tuesday, June 23, 2009 at 2:26 P.M.