SLED will aid FBI in civil rights investigation of S.C. state troopers

The State Law Enforcement Division has joined the FBI in an investigation into complaints of civil rights and official misconduct by the S.C. Highway Patrol, SLED Chief Reggie Lloyd said Friday.

A SLED agent began working with his federal counterparts earlier this week and will investigate possible state-law violations, including misconduct and assault and battery, Lloyd said.

"It does look like there are some issues we need to be looking at," he said. "Whether in the long run it turns out to be criminal remains to be seen."

Federal prosecutors in Columbia announced an investigation after a series of videos from troopers' cruisers surfaced in recent weeks, most of which raised question about mistreatment of black people.

A Charleston newspaper reported Friday that its review of tickets written by state troopers in the past five years shows white people were cited twice as often as black people, reflecting the state's population.

Sixty-two percent of tickets were written to white motorists, 31 percent to black motorists, The Post and Courier said of 2.2 million tickets issued by troopers from 2003 to 2007. The newspaper obtained the data through the Freedom of Information Act.

Yet, black people were twice as likely as white people to be arrested for failing to stop for an officer.