‘Let me see your hands’: Dashcam footage released in deadly trooper-involved shooting in Longs
HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – The South Carolina Highway Patrol has released dashcam video from a deadly trooper-involved shooting in the Longs area.
Obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request, the video captures the pursuit that led to the fatal shooting of Tristan Vereen by Master Trooper W.B. Benton on Sept. 11.
The video begins with Benton attempting to stop a silver Honda Element driven by Vereen near S.C. 905 and S.C. 22. It does not, however, make it clear why the traffic stop was initiated.
Authorities previously said Benton was stopping Vereen for an equipment violation, while 15th Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said he believed the stop was due to a cracked windshield.
At one point at the beginning of the video, Vereen yells something out his window about “jail,” before twice turning around in the middle of the road.
The trooper begins yelling back, pleading with him to stop his vehicle. Benton is heard telling Vereen, “I ain’t going to take you to…” as Vereen drives off.
Benton activates his lights and sirens and begins pursuing Vereen, who begins driving erratically and, at times, on the wrong side of the road.
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At one point, Vereen enters a dirt road and circles a home, with Benton still close behind.
After several minutes, the chase ends on a property near McNeil Chapel Road. Vereen exits his vehicle and Benton begins chasing him on foot.
Benton yells for Vereen to stop, telling him at least three times to get on the ground before firing his taser.
Vereen screams after being tased, with Benton yelling, “Let me see your hands” multiple times, again telling Vereen to get on the ground.
The footage captures the sounds of a struggle on the ground between Vereen and Benton.
At one point during the tussle, investigators say, and surveillance video previously released by the solicitor’s office shows, Vereen picking up the taser from the ground and using it on Benton’s neck.
Benton during the struggle yells three times “He’s biting me,” warning Vereen that he is going to shoot him.
Moments later, the footage captures the sound of a single gunshot. WMBF News is not releasing that part of the video.
Vereen later died at the hospital, but the surveillance footage released by the solicitor’s office showed Vereen walking to the trooper’s vehicle.
Benton was hospitalized for injuries sustained in the incident and had to undergo surgery.
Vereen’s attorneys said that he had the right to resist what they allege was an unlawful arrest. They contend that a vehicle with a cracked windshield in the state of South Carolina is not a traffic violation.
The SLED investigation in the case is still ongoing. It will release its findings to the 15th Circuit Solicitor’s Office where it will determine if charges will be filed against Benton.
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