OFF THE HOOK

Cop Cuts Deal to Duck Prison for Killing

A former police chief in South Carolina pleaded guilty to misconduct in office Tuesday in order to avoid being tried for the more serious charges of murder and involuntary manslaughter for shooting to death a black motorist in 2011. Richard Combs, the ex-police chief of Eutawville, had pulled over Bernard Bailey and his daughter for a broken tail light. Combs alleged Bailey had tried to interfere with the stop and later took out a warrant for obstruction of justice against Bailey. When Bailey went to city hall to request a different court date for his daughter, Bailey served him the warrant. Witnesses said Bailey tried to leave in his truck when Combs opened the door and tried to turn off the ignition. The two fought and Combs shot Bailey twice in the test. Combs testified he feared for his life because he was tangled in the steering wheel. Combs had faced two previous criminal trials that ended in hung juries.