Attorney: Bailey family disappointed over federal finding

metro- SLED crime scene photographer invistigates the location where Bernard Bailey was shot and killed outside the Orangeburg County town's offices and police department on May 2, 2011. (Larry Hardy/Times and Democrat)

The family of a man killed by a police officer in 2011 in Eutawville is disappointed in federal investigators’ decision not to prosecute the officer in the case.

Bernard Bailey, a 54-year-old retired corrections officer, was shot during a confrontation with Eutawville’s Police Chief Ricky Combs in the parking lot of the community’s Town Hall on May 2, 2011.

First Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe said the State Law Enforcement Division informed him on March 6 that the U.S. Department of Justice had closed their file on the shooting and declined prosecuting Combs in the case.

Carl Grant, the Bailey family’s attorney released a statement on Monday in regards to the justice department’s decision:

“After 20 months of investigation, the justice department has sadly concluded that since the dead Mr. Bailey and others cannot testify that Combs was uttering racial epithets to Bailey while pulling the trigger, or prove through other means that Combs killed Mr. Bailey because of his race, there is no basis for a civil rights violation prosecution.”

The statement went on to say: “We have no intentions of fanning the flames of racism, the facts are the facts. But we hope that any fair minded person who has a nose can recognize the putrid, sickening and gut wrenching smell of injustice when it enters the room.”

Pascoe said the investigation is not over because he will be launching his own probe into the killing. Pascoe said he will not take nearly as long as federal investigators to find a resolution and he is now assembling a team.

“After looking through the file, I had almost as many questions as I did answers,” he said.

Pascoe doesn’t criticize the federal investigation, but said he wants to follow up on issues that were raised based on their findings.

SLED will play an integral part of the investigation, he said.

Read more in future editions of The Post and Courier.

Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or