The tiny town of Eutawville was stunned in 2011 when they not only found themselves embroiled in a media attention grabber situation, but also questioning the ethics and trustworthiness of their little police department.
The trouble started three years ago when it was discovered that Eutawville police chief, Richard Combs, had not only shot an unarmed man, but that he’d killed him. This was more than a simple mistake. When the dust settled, Combs had been indicted of using unnecessary force. If found guilty, he faces spending the next ten years of his life in prison.
The shocking event took places right in from of Eutawville’s Town Hall. According to police reports, Bernard Bailey had gone to the Town Hall in order to fight a traffic ticket his daughter had received.
Bailey, a retired corrections officer, was in his truck. According to witnesses, Combs tried serving him with an obstruction of justice warrant at which point Bailey put his vehicle in gear and started to drive. Comb’s stated that he was caught between the truck and another vehicle and feared for his life, which is why he fired his weapon. The lawyer who represented the family during the civil case stated that Combs was saying racial slurs as he fired his weapon. Baily was shot three times.
The city wasted no time placing Combs on administrative leave immediately after the accident, and it wasn’t long after that that the decision was made to fire him. Although the federal investigators opted to not file any charges against Combs, the local prosecutor decided to and filed the unnecessary force indictment.
Before he even faces a jury trial, Combs had to deal with a wrongful death civil suit. The wrongful death lawsuit against Eutawville was filed by the family who feel that Combs had no reason to shoot Bailey. The lawsuit was settled during the negotiation phase for the amount of $400,000.
“There’s nothing I dislike more than hearing about cases in which the law enforcement behaved badly,” said Attorney Joseph Sandefur of South Carolina’s top personal injury firm, Joe and Martin. “We trust these people to protect each and every one of us, not to shoot us three times while we argue a traffic ticket. I’m very glad the family chose to persue a wrongful death lawsuit and that they were rewarded with a nice settlement.”
A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed whenever it’s believed that a loved one’s death was caused by the actions of another. The death doesn’t have to be intentional. Many medical malpractice lawsuits are also wrongful death cases.
It’s important to remember that the laws surrounding personal injuries and wrongful deaths are quite complicated and that even making a simple mistake could cost you a settlement. Rather than taking a chance, you should contact a reputable attorney where you’ll find all the legal advice and assistance you require.
Contact us today and set up a consolation appointment.