COLUMBIA -- Two of the state's top-ranking law-enforcement officials are out of jobs because the governor says they were too lenient on a state trooper captured on video using a racial slur as he threatened to kill a suspect.
Gov. Mark Sanford made the announcement Friday that Department of Public Safety director Jim Schweitzer, whom Sanford appointed in 2004, and Col. Russell Roark, who heads the Highway Patrol, had offered their resignations Friday morning.
A video from a 2004 traffic stop in Greenwood County shows a suspect fleeing. From off camera, the trooper yells, "You better run, n--, because I'm fixin' to kill you."
The governor said the trooper, who is still on patrol, should have been fired.
Schweitzer and Roark say they stand by the punishment they handed out anger management and diversity training.
"This administration has always been about setting a higher bar and a higher standard for how state government goes about the businesses of protecting and serving the people of South Carolina," Sanford said.
"When someone disregards that standard or, worse yet, exhibits behavior that is absolutely intolerable, no matter the situation, we expect the leaders we've appointed to take swift and meaningful steps to correct it."
In the hourlong video, a trooper stops a car and asks one of its passengers, a black man, if there are drugs, alcohol or weapons in the car.
The man says no.
The trooper then asks the car's two other passengers, who also are black men, to get out.
When the trooper looks in the car, he sees a handgun, Sanford said. Illegal drugs were also found later, he said.
The trooper, obviously angry, orders one of the men to put his hands on the patrol car.
That's when one of the men flees, and the trooper, whom the department refuses to identify, makes the threat and uses the slur.
Members of the Black Caucus, who played the video for Sanford on Thursday, are applauding the governor's decision.
"I know it was a tough decision for the governor to make, but it was the right decision," said Rep. Leon Howard, D-Richland, chairman of the Black Caucus. "It sends a clear message across this state and nation that our chief executive officer does not condone or support that type of behavior."
Members have been working to halt the reappointment of Schweitzer to a second term because of the video as well as other incidents in which they say black motorists were treated unfairly by troopers.
Members have also called for the resignation of Roark, who they and other lawmakers have said is unfair in the way he promotes troopers.
Members of the caucus met with Schweitzer last week to discuss their concerns but were not satisfied with his response.
Schweitzer, who will remain in his post until a successor is confirmed, and Roark, who will retire April 30, say they're not second-guessing their decisions.