Videos show shooting of knife-wielding teen
Deputies tried to talk to her for several minutes and used a TASER that did not incapacitate her
By Jeffrey Collins
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Deputies tried to talk to a 16-year-old South Carolina girl holding a knife for 10 minutes before shooting her once as she charged at officers, according to body camera videos released by the Greenville County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies also tried to use a Taser that did not incapacitate her and an officer was standing by to shoot a cloth bag full of metal pellets that don't penetrate the body, but never fired, authorities said.
Deputies released the videos Sunday as part of their promise to release evidence in police shootings involving the Greenville County Sheriff's Office within 45 days. The edited videos provide little new information, but starkly show the consequences of decisions made by deputies and the girl who was angry at her parents.
The body camera video footage ends with the screaming girl writhing on the ground in pain after being shot once July 11. The edited police videos blurred her body so it is not clear exactly where she was struck. Deputies did not release her name because she has been charged as a juvenile with attempted murder and assault and battery.
Authorities said the teen was in the hospital immediately after the shooting. They have not updated her condition since.
The teen's mother called 911 on July 11, telling the operator her daughter pulled a knife on her before running out of their Greenville home. The teen, who was home schooled, was upset her mother had taken away her ukulele, according to a police report release shortly after the shooting.
The teen ran to a spot where a bridge over railroad tracks had been demolished, holding the knife and threatening to jump, authorities said.
A female deputy talks to the teen for 10 minutes, according to her body camera video.
"What's making you want to do this?" the officer asks. "What's making you feel this way right now?"
"My parents," she screams back in one of her rare responses on the video.
When asked what specifically is wrong, the teen replies "Nothing. I'm overreacting. It's stupid."
In much of the video, deputies are trying to determine in the dark whether the teen is holding the knife or had dropped it nearby.
The deputy's body camera shows she only raised her gun the two times the teen charged at her with the knife. The first time came after nine minutes of talking. Another deputy tried to shock the girl with a Taser. She stops, but doesn't appear in pain and doesn't drop the knife. The teen was wearing a baggy sweatshirt, and the probes that deliver the shock from the wires may not have penetrated her skin.
About a minute later, the teen holding the handle of the knife in her fist again runs at the female deputy with the weapon. The officer yells for her to drop the knife, fires one shot and the girl immediately begins shrieking in pain. As soon as the deputies nearby see the teen isn't holding the knife, they start first aid while handcuffing her, according to the video footage.
A deputy was standing nearby with a beanbag shotgun that can knock a suspect down without a projectile penetrating the skin, but that officer didn't fire, said Greenville County Sheriff's Capt. Tim Brown in the sheriff's office video that included the body camera footage. He doesn't say why the deputy didn't fire.
The names of the deputies involved in the incident were not released. The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating whether the shooting was justified, while the sheriff's office is conducting its own internal investigation to see if agency procedures were followed.