Ex-South Carolina police chief indicted on murder charge for shooting black man
Police officer with a gun (Shutterstock)

A white former police chief in Eutawville, South Carolina, has been indicted on a murder charge in the 2011 shooting death of a black man in the town hall parking lot, a county clerk's office said on Thursday.


The indictment of ex-chief Richard Combs came on Wednesday, the Orangeburg County Clerk of Court said, following decisions by grand juries in New York City and Missouri not to indict white police officers involved in deaths of black men this year.

Combs fatally shot Eutawville resident Bernard Bailey after they scuffled, according to the Times and Democrat newspaper. Combs has argued he shot Bailey in self defense, the newspaper reported.

Combs was indicted in August 2013 on a misconduct in office charge in connection with the case, with a grand jury finding that his use of deadly force in the May 2011 shooting was unjustified, according to court records.

The earlier charge is pending.

Prosecutors and Combs' defense attorney could not be immediately reached for comment on Thursday.

The murder indictment against Combs was issued on the same day that a New York City grand jury opted not to bring charges against a white police officer in the chokehold death of an unarmed black man.

Last week, a grand jury in Missouri choose not to indict a white police officer in the killing of a black man there. The decision in that case sparked a rash of violence in Ferguson, Missouri, where 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed, with businesses burned down and looted.

(Reporting by Harriet McLeod; Additional reporting and writing by Colleen Jenkins)