S.C. House aims to ban ticket quotas by law enforcement

Walter Scott runs from his vehicle Saturday after being stopped by Officer Michael Slager in this still photo taken from a recently released SLED video from the on-board camera of the police vehicle. Slager’s defense team has said he was attempting to meet the department’s traffic stop quota when he pulled Slager over.

COLUMBIA — The S.C. House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday that would prevent police departments from requiring officers to meet quotas for written citations.

The proposal passed with no opposition on a 99-0 vote. It still has to clear the Senate by the end of session in June to become law.

The bill was introduced by Democratic state Rep. Justin Bamberg.

Bamberg, a lawyer, represents the family of Walter Scott, a motorist who fled from a traffic stop on April 4, 2015, and fought with North Charleston officer Michael Slager before the policeman shot him five times as he ran away.

“I think the House sent a very clear message today essentially saying that these archaic practices, if they exist, are frowned upon,” said Bamberg, who represents the town of Bamberg. “We will not operate that way in South Carolina.”

The bill is one of a few pieces of law enforcement-related legislation that members of the General Assembly have introduced since Scott’s killing.

The defense team for Slager, who has been charged with murder, has said he was trying to fulfill his department-mandated quota of three traffic stops every shift for minor violations. Slager pulled over Scott for a brake light violation.

Shortly after a cellphone video of the shooting became public, a bill calling for police officers to wear body cameras was fast-tracked through both chambers of the Legislature. It was signed into law two months after the shooting.

Reach Cynthia Roldan at 843-708-5891.