COLUMBIA -- The state trooper whose racial remark to a fleeing suspect led to the resignations of two top law-enforcement officials told an Internal Affairs investigator the man tried to hit him beforehand and continued fighting with him after he was caught.
"I followed all procedures and techniques as required under the use of force policy," then-Lance Cpl. Daniel Campbell said in his 2005 Internal Affairs statement obtained Monday by The State newspaper.
Campbell, who is white, said he was forced to first use pepper spray and then his baton to subdue then-18-year-old Jeremy Travio Saxon, who is black, following the Dec. 12, 2004, traffic stop in Greenwood County.
Campbell said Saxon, who was charged with drug and weapons offenses, wasn't injured. Campbell had to be taken to a local hospital for treatment for exhaustion, according to the report.
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His supervisors in their Internal Affairs statements said Campbell - then a veteran trooper with 14 years of experience - was wrong to use a racial slur while chasing Saxon, though they cleared him of any police brutality charges.
Saxon, now 21, today is serving a seven-year prison sentence for burglary and is facing a murder charge in connection with a March 2007 Greenwood slaying, records show.
Campbell's statements about the 2004 incident were among 36 pages of Internal Affairs documents provided to The State by the state Department of Public Safety under the S.C. Freedom of Information Act.
The department also released 13 pages of internal documents relating to an Oct. 19, 2007, traffic stop in Clarendon County in which a white trooper handcuffed a black female motorist to the front of his patrol car and later left her alone in the dark after towing her car.
In his statement to supervisors a week later, then-Lance Cpl. J.H. Lane said his supervisor gave him permission to tow the car, and that the woman told him her mother would pick her up from the scene.
But in giving Lane a one-day suspension for his handling of the incident, Department of Public Safety director James Schweitzer said Lane's decision to handcuff Angela Scott to the front push bumper - which extends from the front of the patrol car - of Lane's patrol car was "unwarranted and improper."
A department spokeswoman said Monday that Lane has no prior disciplinary record and that Campbell had only one previous infraction, which she described as minor.
Earlier, The State obtained squad car videos of both the Greenwood and Clarendon county traffic stops, though they were provided Monday by the department with Internal Affairs documents.
On the 2004 video, Campbell is heard off camera yelling, "You better run, n..., because I'm fixin' to kill you."
Campbell was ordered to take anger- management and diversity training. But Gov. Mark Sanford on Feb. 29 said the department was too lenient on the trooper, and Schweitzer and Highway Patrol commander Col. Russell Roark resigned that same day.
Contacted Monday night about the Internal Affairs reports, Roark said he was "very shocked by what I saw (on the video) and felt that severe disciplinary action should have been taken."
Although Roark stressed that "my recommendations are my responsibility," he said he relied in part on the recommendation of Campbell's troop captain - who is black.
"I did not make the decision in a vacuum," Roark said. "Based on the conversation I had with this one captain, based on the past behavior of this employeeæ.æ.æ. and trying to change his behavior through training - that certainly went into my recommendation to the director."
In a Dec. 20, 2004, letter to Patrol headquarters, Campbell's troop supervisor, Capt. J.R. Jones, said he found Campbell's language "inappropriate," and that he was referring the matter to his supervisors for "review and proper handling."
Jones didn't say in his letter what punishment Campbell should receive, though Roark said Monday those recommendations typically aren't part of the file maintained by the Office of Professional Responsibility, which conducts Internal Affairs investigations.
Roark declined comment on the incident involving Lane. Earlier, Sanford said the trooper demonstrated a "series of bad judgments," though he didn't know if the actions were motivated by race.
Efforts Monday to reach Schweitzer, Campbell and Lane were unsuccessful.
Campbell gave this account of the Dec. 12, 2004, incident in his Internal Affairs statement:
He stopped a white 1987 Cadillac at about 8:30 p.m. at Dixie and Pine drives in Greenwood County for "failing to dim headlights." Three occupants were in the car at the time.
As he approached the car, he could smell alcohol. He asked the driver to step out after he said he didn't have a driver's license on him.
Campbell called for backup, and after a Greenwood County Sheriff's deputy arrived, he had all three occupants get out of the vehicle and patted them down for weapons.
While searching the car, he saw a silver revolver on the floorboard where Saxon had been sitting. When he told all three to put their hands on the hood of the patrol car, Saxon fled the scene.
After about 20 yards into the chase, Saxon swung at him "a couple of times breaking free." Campbell then made the racial slur and the threat to kill Saxon before chasing him into woods.
Campbell said he first used his pepper spray on Saxon, but after that didn't work, he hit him on the legs with his baton before finally cuffing him.
Campbell said he seized 28.8 grams of cocaine from Saxon and while doing a later search of the car found 11.8 grams more of cocaine, 120 grams of marijuana and another pistol in the trunk of the vehicle.
Saxon was booked on weapons and drug charges, and for fighting with an officer, though records don't indicate if he was convicted of any of those charges.
Saxon has a lengthy arrest record with offenses including trespassing, giving false information to police and assault and battery, SLED records show.
He is charged in the March 5, 2007, shooting death of Silvio Antonio Alaniz Gonzalez at a home in Greenwood. His trial is pending, 8th Circuit Solicitor Jerry Peace said Monday night.