CPD may drop several charges against SC NAACP leader - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

CPD may drop several charges against SC NAACP leader

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

The Columbia Police Department appears likely to drop several charges filed against state NAACP leader Dr. Lonnie Randolph, Jr. in connection with a disturbance at a Five Points dry cleaning business last Friday.

Interim Police Chief Ruben Santiago says he believes dismissing the charges is the right thing to do in light of Randolph's struggle with diabetes.

Randolph's attorney, Joe McCulloch, says the condition led to the arrest. 

Police charged Randolph, Jr. with trespassing, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest after the confrontation Friday.

The incident happened Friday night at Tripp's Cleaners in Five Points. An employee called police, saying Randolph refused to pay his bill and would not to leave.

Officers say when they asked Randolph to leave, he again refused. That's when they attempted to put him in handcuffs, but they say he resisted and put up a struggle, trying to grab the cuffs.

Once he was in handcuffs, officers say he refused to get in the back of the patrol car and officers struck him in the knees and chest to get him in the cruiser.

According to a police report, City Manager Teresa Wilson personally responded to the scene. We're told that was because she happened to hear about the disturbance and knows Randolph. City officials say there was no special treatment of Randolph because of his position.

"When I received the call and was briefed, I went to the scene based off the totality of the circumstances presented and also because of my personal knowledge of Dr. Randolph's medical condition. However, upon my arrival Dr. Randolph was no longer on the scene and had been transported to receive medical care," said Wilson in a statement.

Randolph was taken to a nearby hospital, but refused treatment.

The incident report shows Randolph was "field booked" and released with approval from Santiago.

"This incident is the result of a cascade of misunderstandings and the individuals involved not recognizing the diabetic condition," said attorney Joe McColloch through a statement released Wednesday. 

"Though a long time customer at the Five Points business, last Friday he encountered an employee who did not know him and who was unaware of his diabetic condition, and not recognizing his disorientation for what it was, the police rather than EMS were summoned," the statement continued. "The misinterpretation by the employee continued upon the arrival of the police who like wise did not recognize the situation to be a health issue."

This was not the first problem of its type for Randolph. On June 18, University of South Carolina Police were called to the corner of Blossom and Pickens Street after getting a report of a car parked on the wrong side of the road. They found Randolph there, who told them his blood sugar had dropped and he couldn't remember where he was going.

Randolph was taken to Palmetto Health Baptist and we are told he also resisted efforts to get him there.

Randolph is at a convention in Florida, and McCulloch asked that a Wednesday court appearance be delayed. 

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