Columbia officer fired after 8 force incidents in 5 months

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A police officer who shot a man in the head during a traffic stop in South Carolina has been fired after using force on at least eight people over the past five months, officials said.

Columbia Police officer Sean Rollins was fired Wednesday for unsatisfactory performance after an internal review, police spokesperson Jennifer Timmons said.

The firing came after The Post and Courier of Charleston reviewed police reports and body camera footage from Rollins after he shot Sir Brandon Legette in the back of the head in 2019 during a scuffle after a traffic stop.

Police said Legette dragged Rollins, but body camera footage released from his lawyer showed the officer was in the car when the shooting happened. At the time, Columbia Police said that footage didn’t include video where Rollins was fighting for his life.

The documents reviewed by the newspaper showed Rollins struck, forcibly subdued or used his stun gun on no fewer than eight people over five months. Columbia police officers average less than one use-of-force incident per year.

The incidents included Rollins firing bean bag rounds into a crowd outside the Statehouse during a May protest. Police initially said Rollins was firing at someone approaching officers, but video showed the man on his knees with his hands up.

Rollins also knocked a woman unconscious trying to arrest her, used a stun gun on a man twice after grabbing him off a porch and tackled another woman in her living room, bloodying her nose and face, according to the reports reviewed by the newspaper.

In the living room incident, Rollins wrote in his report she was trying to enter another room where “many items were present and were readily available as weapons.”

Rollins’ lawyer did not return a phone message or email seeking comment from the newspaper. Rollins, 26, was hired by the force in 2018.

The police department did not release additional information on why Rollins was fired.

The lawyer for Legette who released the body camera footage of his shooting said he was relieved to see Rollins was no longer a Columbia police officer.

“The citizens of Columbia are much safer without him patrolling the streets,” attorney Marc Brown said. “I only wish the city of Columbia would have terminated him sooner.”

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