Crime & Courts

Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting In Florence County

Will body-worn camera footage be released?

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Agents of the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) are investigating a fatal officer-involved shooting that took place in Florence County over the Memorial Day weekend.

According to a news release (.pdf) from the agency, a deputy with the Florence County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) attempted to initiate a traffic stop of a vehicle driven by 43-year-old William Dawayne Rankin of Florence.

Rankin refused to stop for blue lights and subsequently crashed the vehicle he was driving into the front of a residence located on East National Cemetery Road near the Florence regional airport, according to SLED’s release. The pursuing deputy and a K9 followed Rankin into the home, encountering him and another individual who was not involved in the chase.

According to SLED, the K9 “bit onto the other person” while the FCSO deputy “shot Rankin.”

Rankin succumbed to his wounds at a local hospital shortly thereafter. The individual bitten by the K9 was treated for their injuries and released.



“I have called the State Law Enforcement Division to conduct an independent investigation of the incident,” FCSO sheriff TJ Joye said in a statement. “We are cooperating fully with that investigation.”

SLED investigates officer-involved shootings as a matter of protocol in the vast majority of local law enforcement jurisdictions in the Palmetto State – presenting investigative reports to the solicitor with jurisdiction over the county or municipality where the shooting transpired.

“SLED’s goal is to conduct a thorough, independent criminal investigation,” the agency’s release noted. “This is an ongoing investigation. As such, no other information about the case will be disclosed by SLED at this time.”

The deputy involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave pending a review of the incident, which is also a matter of protocol.

Readers will recall Joye has been exceedingly transparent in releasing footage from officer-involved shootings even though law enforcement agencies are exempt from doing so under state law.

How is he handling the potential release of footage in this case?

“I invited the family of Mr. Rankin to view the body-worn video of the incident with the intention of releasing it to the public as I have on other occasions,” Joye said in a statement. “I believe that honesty and transparency are essential to law enforcement. After viewing the video, the family has requested that it not be released at this time. I will honor their wishes.”

This media outlet is submitting a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the footage, although as noted the much-ballyhooed body-worn camera transparency law signed by former governor Nikki Haley in 2015 does not require agencies to release such footage.

Sunday’s incident was the 18th officer-involved shooting in South Carolina in 2024 and the first involving Joye’s agency. There were 43 such incidents in 2023, just shy of the record of 49 set in 2017 and matched in 2020.






(Travis Bell Photography)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and eight children.



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1 comment

River Top fan June 2, 2024 at 7:42 pm

I’m pretty sure failure to stop for blue lights first offense is a misdemeanor. Our state law makers really need to make this charge a felony with the amount of risk associated for everyone involved in a pursuit.


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