COLUMBIA, SC — Columbia City Council member Moe Baddourah says he wants the FBI, not state law enforcement officers, to investigate charges of corruption and mismanagement within the Columbia Police Department.
In a letter to his fellow council members and Columbia City Manager Teresa Wilson, Baddourah argues that “an abundance of caution” prompts him to urge FBI involvement. The people of Columbia must be confident that an investigation of the police department is thorough and objective, he said.
The State Law Enforcement Division confirmed on Tuesday that it had opened an investigation of the Columbia Police Department but refused to say what its investigators were looking into. The acknowledgment followed public statements by Columbia Mayor Steven Benjamin urging the state agency to expand the scope of its inquiry to include allegations against the interim police chief, Ruben Santiago, made on Monday by fired police Capt. David Navarro.
Baddourah, who is running for mayor, urged other members of City Council to join him in approaching the FBI, arguing that “it’d make a stronger statement if we were to make a request as a Council.”