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      Ex-officers claim troopers were promoted despite misconduct

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Two retired Highway Patrolmen say favoritism in the agency led to some troopers being promoted or rehired despite allegations of misconduct or even a conviction.

      Retired officers Joseph Kerbs and Daniel Bledsoe claim they told Governor Mark Sanford and Public Safety Department Director Jim Schweitzer about the problems more than a year ago.

      An agency spokesman disputed the favoritism claims.

      Schweitzer and Highway Patrol Colonel Russell Roark resigned a week ago after black lawmakers showed the governor a videotape of a white trooper threatening a black man and using a racial slur during a foot chase.

      The retired officers claim favoritism is a widespread problem at the agency.

      (Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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