In a case with several parallels to both the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases, a South Carolina grand jury indicted a white police officer with murder Wednesday for the shooting of an unarmed black man. Despite the significant parallels and timing, however, the national media has largely ignored the story.
In May 2011, Bernard Bailey, a 54-year-old African American, came to the Eutawville (population 300) police department to complain about his daughter’s recent taillight ticket. When Police Chief Richard Combs, 35, attempted to arrest Bailey for obstruction of justice, Bailey refused and marched outside to his truck. Combs pursued Bailey to his truck and attempted to turn off the ignition, which resulted in a physical struggle between the two, ending with Combs shooting Bailey twice in the chest.
Though Combs claimed that his arm was tangled in the steering wheel and feared for his life should Bailey drive away, prosecutors said Combs had initiated the struggle that led to Bailey’s death.