Video of NAACP President Arrest Released
Surveillance of Dr. Lonnie Randolph's encounter with CPD made public
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- For the first time, we are seeing what really transpired during the arrest of State NAACP President, Dr. Lonnie Randolph. He is accused of refusing to pay for dry cleaning and becoming combative with police. His attorney wants all charges dropped. Also, Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin sounds off on the trouble his police department constantly finds itself in.
In the surveillance video, Randolph is seen being taken into custody by Columbia Police officers for what they say is resisting arrest.
After an alleged altercation with police, he is rushed to be put in the back of a patrol car, stumbling the whole way. Randolph alleges several teeth were knocked out and he suffered contusions to his lip and bruising to his left arm during the incident.
Late this afternoon, Randolph's attorney filed a motion to dismiss the charges against his client, stating he was experiencing a diabetic episode and not exhibiting criminal behavior. Several affidavits were also submitted by long time friends and colleagues of Randolph confirming their knowledge of such episodes.
Columbia mayor Steve Benjamin even reprimanded city manager Teresa Wilson in a statement yesterday for showing up to that crime scene, saying: "It's is extremely important that we remove politics from this equation. We must let the cops do their jobs without interference. That is a key concern of mine with...the issue of Dr. Lonnie Randolph's arrest in Five Points.
In a second bombshell today, former City of Columbia police captain Dave Navarro is suing the City. Navarro is the whistle blower at the center of corruption allegations against the interim Columbia police chief Ruben Santiago.
Mayor Steve Benjamin says such high-profile incidents further demonstrate "the need for continued focus and action."
"It's important that people understand that our number one priority is making sure the people of Columbia are safe," said Benjamin.
He says that can't happen if the police department, currently under investigation by state and federal authorities, stays in trouble.
"We don't want to be average. We want to be the best of the best in what we do. The only way to do that is to conduct a true, independent national search. The mayor plans to push for the search during city council meeting August 6th.
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