Rep Todd Rutherford calls for license plate reader reform state-wide

Must read

David Hucks
David Hucks
David Hucks is a 12th generation descendant of the area we now call Myrtle Beach, S.C. David attended Coastal Carolina University and like most of his family, has never left the area. David is the lead journalist at

Law enforcement accountability and state regulations are being pushed after a controversial traffic stop of La’Nisha Hemingway, a NMB high school student, last month in North Myrtle Beach. The North Myrtle Beach teenager was stopped at gun point after being misidentified by a plate reader embedded in a traffic light.

Representative Todd Rutherford has tried three times to introduce a bill regulating license plate readers, but it has never been passed.

According to Paul Bowers with the American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina, license plate reader regulations across the state are problematic.

La’Nisha Hemingway, 18, claims she was wrongfully detained at gunpoint by North Myrtle Beach police.


A license plate reader notified officers that her car had been stolen, according to the lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, officers realized they had pulled over the wrong car after Hemingway was detained. The acknowledgment was captured on the body camera.

There is a problem with that, Bowers pointed out. “Nobody is setting up guard rails for how this technology is used,” Bowers said. “There are often no rules in place regarding how data are collected, how they are stored, how long they can be kept, or how they can be used as evidence in court in the case of automatic license plates.”

The officers involved are equally responsible for escalating this situation, as some influential advocates claim better standards for the tech could have prevented it.

“Is the license plate reader to blame if it, did it get that information before the officer got out of the wrong car?” continued Rutherford.

The bodycam video appears to show that one of the officers knew they were pulling over the wrong car, prompting further questions from lawmakers.

“The problem with that is no one along the way is doing the work of accountability,” Bowers said. “Nobody is setting up guard rails for how this technology is used. Particularly, in the case of automatic license plates, there are often no real rules in place about how data are collected, how they’re stored, how long they’re stored, or how they can be used as evidence in court.”

More articles

Latest article

- Advertisement -