Lancaster County police officer accused of harassing Black residents

South Carolina News

LANCASTER COUNTY, S.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE)- A Lancaster County police officer is accused of harassing nearly two dozen Black residents in the area.

The 21 individuals naming the officer went front and center at a city council meeting to tell leaders about how they feel like they are being singled out.

The neighbors had different accounts about interactions with the Lancaster officer. Some say he pulled them over multiple times with no ticket or citation while others say he’s never pulled them over just verbally harassed them. Now, they’re asking the city to put a stop to it.

“Something really needs to be done about Beck,” one of the residents said at the city council meeting.

Detective Sgt. Pete Beck is accused of pulling over Black drivers for minor infractions as an excuse to question them and search the car.

One woman detailed how the officer has allegedly pulled her son over several times in the last few weeks.

“Beck pulled him over. He said something about his light on the car, so Beck pulled him over, made my son get out the car search him, search the car. So I’m trying to figure out why did you search him, why did you make him get out of the car, you didn’t smell no kind of weed, no drugs or nothing so what was the reason for you doing that?”

Lancaster Mayor Alston DeVenny says the council is here to help them.

“The community themselves have asked,” DeVenny said. “We need help keeping guns off our streets, drugs off our streets and this methodology that we’ve used has created some concerns for people and because that concern has arisen, we definitely need to take a look at it.”

DeVenny says the methodology is to be present in the community, something they’ve been doing for about 30 years now.

”When particularly vehicle violations occur, it allows the officer to make a vehicle stops, speeding , bad taillight all those sorts of things and it gives the opportunity to be present and see what’s going on in a neighborhood or what’s going on in a particular vehicle. It’s just a way to keep your eyes open.”

If the method isn’t working, DeVenny says they’ll find another way to keep the drug and gun problem down.

“Every complaint that was actually made in a way that could identify the situation we’ve looked into.”

The council is investigating body cam footage of each complaint. He wouldn’t say if it’s just been one officer that people have complained about.

FOX 46 reached out to the Lancaster Police Department. We have not received a response yet.

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