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Feminist News


March-25-96

Patrolman Cleared of Federal Civil Rights Charges in Highway Harassment Episode

Claiming that the harassing and physically abusive actions of Lance Cpl. W.H. Beckwith do not merit federal charges, federal officials announced they will not pursue charges of civil rights violations for Beckwith's conduct on January 8. When Beckwith turned on the sirens of his unmarked car and began following motorist Susan Antor or Miami, his patrol car video recorder automatically turned on and recorded Beckwith dragging the woman out of her car, shouting obscenities, and pushing her face down on the road. FBI agents viewed the tape and decided not to pursue charges, although Beckwith still faces an investigation by the State Law Enforcement Division.

Antor's lawyers indicate they might file suit against the white South Carolina state trooper. Antor, who is black, maintains the attack was racially motivated. Beckwith was fired after Antor complained to authorities about the incident.

Media Resources: CNN - March 24, 1996; CNN March 8, 1996