68-year-old great-grandfather, Ernest Satterwhite, of South Carolina was shot and killed by police in his driveway, because he allegedly ignored police who were attempting to pull him over.
This incident occurred back in February, but did not come to light until last week when North Augusta Police Officer Justin Craven was indicted on misdemeanor charges of “misconduct in office”.
The prosecutor initially sought voluntary manslaughter charges, which could have carried up to 30 years in prison. However, the grand jury declined the motion and indicted him under the misdemeanor misconduct charge, which is usually applied to officers who are caught accepting bribes.
Aside from the indictment, very few details about this case have been made public. The indictment itself is only one page long, and makes no mention of the specific actions taken by officer Craven on the night in question. The only specific accusations made against Craven in the indictment is “using excessive force and failing to follow and use proper procedures.”
Satterwhite reportedly drove at low speeds towards his home on the night that police chased him down, and according to his arrest record, he has a history of similar traffic offenses. However, he has no history of violence, even during arrest. He just happens to have a history of disregarding the assumed authority of police.
According to reports, Edgefield County police followed Satterwhite with their lights on for several miles until he pulled into his driveway. The officers had to know that it was his driveway, because they had pulled up all of his personal information during the low speed chase.
The police department says that when officer Craven approached Satterwhite’s parked car, the 68-year-old great grandfather attempted to grab his weapon. However, this story seems very unlikely, because the shots were fired through the drivers side door and window of Satterwhite’s car, while he was still sitting in the driver’s seat. After the shooting occurred, the officers on the scene were unable to open the door of the car because it was locked. They eventually had to break the window and unlock the door to get Satterwhite out of the vehicle.
According to the grieving family, the officers had no regard for the man’s life after the shooting, they literally dragged him out of the car, handcuffed him and threw him on the side of the road, mortally wounded.
Satterwhite’s family has filed a lawsuit against the county and the department, alleging that officers lied about the conditions leading up to the man’s death.
Following the indictment Craven was put on paid suspension.
John Vibes is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war. In addition to his writing and activist work he is also the owner of a successful music promotion company. In 2013, he became one of the organizers of the Free Your Mind Conference, which features top caliber speakers and whistle-blowers from all over the world. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can find his 65 chapter Book entitled “Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance” at bookpatch.com.