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Policeman shoots man while giving citation for seatbelt violation

Usually, a South Carolina traffic stop is nothing more than a police officer issuing a warning or a ticket. While the resulting tickets can be costly and can result in litigation and criminal defense proceedings, usually no bodily harm comes to the person who was pulled over. However, in a recent incident, a routine traffic stop turned violent when a highway patrol officer shot a driver for no apparent reason.

Video footage taken from a police cruiser dashboard camera shows everything that took place last week when the driver was shot. Allegedly, the unarmed driver was pulled over for a simple seat belt violation. The man can be seen getting out of his vehicle, and then returning to get his identification out of his vehicle when asked to do so by the officer. The officer then fired his weapon four times while yelling at the man to get out of his car.

The driver was shot in the hip and has fortunately survived the incident. He is currently recovering at the hospital. The injured man made a public statement, saying that he was thankful to God that he had survived to tell his tale, and he hopes his situation will help things to change for the better. At the very least, it is highly unlikely that the driver who was shot in this incident will have to defend himself against any kind of citation relating to his alleged failure to put on a seat belt.

The 31-year-old highway patrol officer has been terminated from his position and charged with felony assault and battery. If convicted, the man could face as long as 20 years behind bars.

While what happened to this man is unconscionable and inhumane, his story should serve as a reminder to all South Carolina drivers that a traffic stop -- no matter how minor the violation – is a serious matter. Follow all directions of police, keep hands visible at all times and do not make any kind of sudden movements. If the police officer's decision to issue a ticket is questionable, then a traffic ticket defense attorney's advice could be quite helpful.

Source: wjla.com, "South Carolina state trooper arrested after dashcam video captures shooting of unarmed man" Sep. 29, 2014

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