A police body camera rolled as a volunteer lawman described why he shot a motorist in Florence.
"That (expletive) about ran me over," the state constable said.
The video captured an account in which Christopher Bachochin portrayed the motorist's car as a threat, though he and other officers stood to the side as the sedan jerked backward, then sped forward.
After the constable spoke, a supervisor approached the officer wearing the camera. The officer had witnessed the shooting but didn't fire his own gun.
"Don't forget," the supervisor said, "just tell them the truth."
"There's nothing to lie about," the officer responded. "I know what I did."
The motorist, Brandon Fludd, 28, is recovering after being hit by three of the eight bullets fired at him Saturday night. He had wounds to an arm and a knee. A bullet in his chest is still there.
What the officer and another certified policeman at the scene later wrote in a report was still not clear Thursday because Florence officials have refused to release the document. State investigators also said they wouldn’t disclose Bachochin’s training history and certification records because the probe isn't done.
How officers document shootings has been a crucial aspect of recent scrutiny of police uses of force. Officers nationwide have been accused of lying in reports or to investigators. Three Chicago officers were charged with conspiracy in the 2014 killing of Laquan McDonald, and North Charleston patrolman Michael Slager was alleged to have misled investigators after the 2015 shooting of Walter Scott.
Fludd's attorney, Democratic state Rep. Justin Bamberg, lauded Florence officials for already releasing video footage of the shooting. But that amounts to only partial transparency, he said.
"There were reports written before the body camera was reviewed," he said. "We want to see what they wrote."
Open-records advocates said state law demands the documents' release.
"How would releasing historical information interfere with law enforcement action?" said Jay Bender, a longtime press attorney who has represented The Post and Courier. "(The constable) knows his history. The police know his history. Who's being kept in the dark here? The public."
Mayor Stephen Wukela said earlier this week the city's "policy of being exceedingly open" is a "way you build the trust of the community."
But the Florence Police Department denied The Post and Courier's request for the reports "due to an active investigation" by the agency and the State Law Enforcement Division. SLED's probe is examining whether the shooting was justified.
SLED said its agents have already interviewed Bachochin and others. The constable, who is sidelined during the probe, has declined to answer the newspaper's questions.
Constables go through training at technical schools and are certified by SLED. Many are unpaid. Some are retired after long police careers.
Bachochin served for five years as a police officer before becoming a pharmacist. He had been volunteering in Florence for about four years, officials have said.
Documentation of his history as a constable was added to SLED's investigative file after the shooting, and its release could "interfere with a prospective law enforcement proceeding," spokesman Thom Berry said, citing a portion of the S.C. Freedom of Information Act. Berry refused to say exactly how it might jeopardize the inquiry.
He acknowledged a public interest in the documents.
"But the case is a matter of interest to us, as well," he said. "We have an investigation that we must conduct."
Bachochin was tagging along with Florence patrolman Edward Sieban after 11 p.m., Saturday when they stopped Fludd's car. Sieban said in the video from his body camera that the car had crossed the center line.
The constable was the first to walk up to the car and shine a flashlight inside, but Sieban cut in front of him.
Fludd denied having any guns or drugs. But Sieban said he smelled marijuana.
Perturbed, Fludd threw his Cadillac into gear, backing into the patrol car behind him.
Bachochin backed away as he opened fire at the driver's side.
The car took off. On another street, Sieban and Bachochin would soon find it abandoned and bloodied.
"That scared the (expletive) out of me," Bachochin said. "He about run us ... over."
To another officer who showed up, Sieban repeated what Bachochin used as a reason for opening fire: "He said he came right at Chris."
Bachochin gave a more detailed account.
"He cut the wheel a bit, so the front end come out," he said. "I see that front end coming around. I was just like, 'Oh, (expletive)."
Bachochin soon took a seat in a cruiser. The supervisor at the scene asked another officer where the constable had gone.
"He's sitting in my car," the officer said.
"That's the best place for him," the supervisor said.