Mayor Demanding Changes to City Public Safety


By Rochelle Dean


Mayor Steve Benjamin not holding back when it comes to his feeling about recent incidents alleged to have taken place in the city over the last two weeks.

The mayor says " i have no tolerance for corruption of any kind." As for the SLED investigation requested by the Mayor last week after a former Columbia Police officer made allegations of Departmental corruption, The mayor says if any wrong doing is found he plans to push for those responsible to be fired immediately and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Another issue the Mayor addressed, the arrest of South Carolina NAACP President Dr. Lonnie Randolph, Jr. According to a police report, Dr. Randolph was struck in the chest and legs after he was accused of trespassing and refusing to pay for dry cleaning he was picking up at Tripp's in Five points.

Dr. Randolph's attorney argues the incident was brought on by a diabetic attack, something responding officer knew nothing about. However, during the incident, Interim Police Chief Ruben Santiago and City Manager Teresa Wilson who admittedly were aware of his medical condition responded to the scene.

Mayor Benjamin says " out of concern for our criminal justice system, i am strongly recommending Dr. Randolph's charges not be dropped before the case reaches the courtroom." He added this is the reason why we " should not have administrators or elected officials showing up at crime can create the appearance of impropriety and it needs to stop now."

Mayor Benjamin says during the next City Council meeting he intends to move forward with a comprehensive, nationwide search for a permanent police chief. "it's time to bring stability to CPD leadership."

Stay with ABC Columbia News for the latest developments.

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