Settlement reached after police dog mauls teen and deputies fire so indiscriminately dog is killed

The teen was injured when deputies attempted to pull over a vehicle driven by Bryan Keith Hamilton, Greenville News reported. Hamilton, however, sped away and later crashed into a taxi before he and the teen ran to a wooded area nearby. The teen’s family and attorneys have said Hamilton, who was five years older than the victim, threatened the teen. A police dog released by authorities later caught up to the victim and Hamilton, who shot himself. Deputies fired several shots, hitting the teen and the police dog, Greenville News reported.

Sheriff Chad McBride earlier described the shooting as an ambush on his deputies, remarks he later walked back, the newspaper reported.

The sheriff’s office released this statement to WSPA after learning of the lawsuit:

“Deputies with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office were engaged in a vehicle pursuit on August 11, 2020 on Clemson Boulevard in Anderson. Upon the pursuit ending, deputies located the suspect vehicle and subsequently conducted a K9 track for those involved.

The K9 track led up a steep and heavily wooded embankment where two individuals were hiding. When the suspects were located, deputies believed they were engaged in an ambush situation when one of the suspects fired a handgun. Believing they were under attack, deputies returned fire, striking both suspects and K9 Roscoe at least one time.

The State Law Enforcement Division was requested to investigate the shooting incident and have provided the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office with a Letter of Declination. The letter from the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office expresses that the deputies involved in this incident “used lawful and appropriate force under the circumstances”.

‘As of now, we have not seen or been served with any civil litigation documents related to this incident. Our office is committed to serving the citizens of Anderson County to the best of our ability. We believe that our deputies acted in a manner that was in accordance with the situation they were faced with that evening. SLED has completed their investigation into the criminal matter surrounding the incident, clearing our deputies of any wrongdoing. Since there is a potential pending civil litigation, we cannot comment much more into the matter at this time. We do however, look forward to having the entirety of the evidence provided and heard in a court setting at some point.’“

Sherry Britt, the teen’s mother, told WSPA in January how her daughter described the incident while laying in her hospital bed. “’Mom, I told them I was a 16-year-old girl, and I was unarmed to please stop shooting me, and they wouldn’t stop shooting me,’” Britt said. “To hear your little girl say that, and to know that an officer was shooting and she’s begging them to stop shooting her and they’re still shooting her, it’s horrendous. I couldn’t imagine putting myself in her shoes.”

Her tibia was shattered in the shooting and she sustained wounds to her feet, neck, and back, Crump said in an earlier news release. Attorneys representing the injured teen said in their latest release that the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office has one of the highest rates of police shootings in South Carolina.

“Our client was shot and nearly killed by deputies who should have been protecting her,” Sellers said. “On top of that, they shot and killed their own canine officer. If that isn’t reckless, then I don’t know what is.”

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