VIDEO: City Council Questions Police Shooting Of Man Actively Shooting At Them

Police have released bodycam video of Jethro Benjamin opening fire on a Florence police officer.

Florence, SC – Police have released bodycam video of an officer-involved shooting that showed the suspect opening fire on the officer in a hotel parking lot (video below).

The incident occurred just before 12:30 p.m. on July 14 when police responded to a call about an armed man at the Hilton Garden Inn on Hospitality Boulevard, according to WPDE.

Florence Police Officer Thomas Herman was the first to arrive on the scene and dashcam video showed he spotted 68-year-old Jethro Benjamin right away, brandishing a handgun.

Officer Herman ordered Benjamin to the ground and told him to drop his weapon, but the suspect failed to comply, WMBF reported.

Instead, he hid behind a car and opened fire on the officer.

Officer Herman returned fire, and engaged in a gunfight, Florence Police Lieutenant Mike Brandt told WPDE.

The video showed the officer took cover behind his police vehicle and shot at Benjamin as the suspect left the cover of the vehicle behind which he had been hiding, the video showed.

He fell to the ground and officers proceeded to take him into custody.

Benjamin was transported to a Florence-area hospital where he later died, WPDE reported.

No officers were injured in the altercation.

“It’s terrible. It’s a terribly tragic situation. We’re devastated by the turn of events,” Florence Mayor Stephen Wukela said after the shooting occurred, according to WBTW.

“But unfortunately, it doesn’t appear there was an alternative. It’s terribly unfortunate what had to occur but when you’ve got an individual with a firearm in a public place, an officer put himself in between that danger and the public,” the mayor said.

When city council members questioned the fact that it was the second officer-involved shooting for the department in 2018, Wukela jumped to the defense of law enforcement in his city.

"I know that's troubling to me and other members of council and staff and to police and to the officer himself. We're devastated by the turn of events but unfortunately, it doesn't appear there was an alternative,” he said. “You've got an individual here at a public place discharging a firearm at police officers. That officer didn't have much choice."

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) took over the investigation into the shooting at the request of the Florence police chief.

“Chief [Allen] Heidler requested that the State Law Enforcement Division investigate this incident. The Florence Police Department also conducted an internal inquiry into this incident. As a result of both investigations, it has been determined that Officer Thomas Herman acted in accordance with state law, as well as departmental policy," Lt. Brandt wrote, according to SC Now.

Watch the suspect open fire on the officer in the video below:

Comments (22)
No. 1-21
Ghost31289
Ghost31289

Never underestimate the stupidity of a liberal. Even in a clear cut case where the bad guy opened fire first, on camera, they’re STILL asking why the cops needed to shoot him. I suppose they wanted them to verbally deescalate the situation with rounds flying past their heads.

GODHELPUSALL
GODHELPUSALL

leo did nothing wrong in this video

ExcitedConservative
ExcitedConservative

Some people’s children... clear cut case, shoot at police and get turned into a sprinkler.. natural selection

LEO0301
LEO0301

Oh, I get why they're upset. It's a white police officer who shot a black man. Say no more...

EscortingAmerica
EscortingAmerica

If police officers can't "police" then we are all doomed.

Sailor
Sailor

These City Council members are either stupid with a distinct lack of critical thinking skills or they are posturing to appear aligned as sympathetic to the anti-police idiots. Either way they have no sound basis for questioning anything. My conclusion: they need to stfu and color.

stooge819
stooge819

The tone of the response from the mayor is a part of the problem. These incidents are not "tragic". They always want to describe them as tragic. A person made a decision to threaten a police officer with great bodily harm or death, and he defended himself. The facts take precedence over feelings. Period. Let's move along.

Paul Kersey Jr.
Paul Kersey Jr.

I see plenty of shootings by police to criticize, legal justification aside. That said, anyone who can't see the PO had no choice is being obtuse or insane. No, it is not "tragic" either. Sheesh. My best to the Officer.

gfc1963
gfc1963

Nothing to see here. Good shoot by the cop.

Stanracer
Stanracer

You shoot at the police....expect to be shot back at. Logic. Good shooting by officer. 👍

TarnishedCopper
TarnishedCopper

What the hell do elected council members know about police work anyway? How dare them question what is obviously a justified shooting! The best thing they could do for the good of the officer, the department, and the bank accounts of the city is keep their mouths shut, especially until after the outside investigation is completed and the results are announced. These city council people are obviously "not the sharpest knives in the drawer!"

K9ndn
K9ndn

Did you hear the savages in the background? Typical section 8 trash screaming because he was black. Video doesn’t lie. I’m sorry but Obama and his racist agenda has destroyed our country’s.

fishermanpat2
fishermanpat2

"it doesn't appear there was an alternative", "the office didn't have MUCH choice"? Are you kidding me? This was a totally justified shoot and and some officers would have continued to shoot even after the clown had fallen just to be safe. Great job by the officer.

fishermanpat2
fishermanpat2

Expect to become swiss cheese.

MajScallywag
MajScallywag

Perhaps these brain surgeon commissioners should eliminate the police department completely to avoid these shootings? Oops, then there is the problem of the thugs and imbeciles shooting guns! Well, maybe the complaining citizens need to learn the hard way without the police?? Stupid people are so frustrating!!

Bobby1874
Bobby1874

Isn't it amazing that I didn't need to read the story to know the assholes were Democrats

ArizonaG30
ArizonaG30

these asswipes setting on their fat butts trying to second guess a Police officer being shot at. Single digit I.Q.s if they have one

AliceV
AliceV

Their homes should go on the no response to calls list. Let the asshat politicians fend for themselves!

mindy1000
mindy1000

We had an officer kill someone. Investigators deemed it absolutely justified. The DA has charged him with murder. Our city will be paying for the officer's defense which is great.

HH3
HH3

I believe that any person who desires to play Monday quarterback in any type of capacity should have to do several ride alongs. This should be in the area of the city and the time of day as identified by reported criminal activity. No Wednesday morning business area ride alongs. Friday or Saturday night 2300 to 0300 in the highest crime areas.

Then they will have a better idea of the environment as well as the quality of the people that LEO's come into contact everyday!!!

MrsS
MrsS

It's like he wanted to die....?