WITH VIDEO: Charges against Randolph should be dismissed, allies say

dhinshaw@thestate.com July 25, 2013 

FILE PHOTO: South Carolina NAACP President Dr. Lonnie Randolph.

TIM DOMINICK — tdominick@thestate.com Buy Photo

— Sheriff Leon Lott is among community leaders asking a municipal judge to drop “disorderly conduct” charges against NAACP leader Lonnie Randolph, saying his blood sugar was low and he was disoriented during an incident at a dry-cleaners earlier this month.

Paperwork supporting a motion to dismiss was released to the news media this afternoon, in advance of a court appearance Friday morning.

On July 12, Randolph was escorted out of the Tripp’s Cleaners in Five Points, “taken into custody, injured, and subsequently transported to a local hospital,” it says.

Soft drinks corrected what appeared to be a diabetic condition, said the four-page motion, submitted by Randolph’s lawyer, Joe McCulloch.

Lott, former City Councilman Kirkman Finlay and hospital administrator Vince Ford said they were familiar with his spells of confusion as a result of his diabetes.

McCulloch said his client “was not consciously aware of the gravity of his actions” and lacked the intent necessary to be judged guilty.

Randolph faces three charges in city court: disorderly conduct, trespass by reason of failure to vacate, and resisting arrest.

Finlay, now a state legislator, said City Council became aware of Randolph’s diabetes in May 2009.

Then, according to neighbor Mike Burley, police found Randolph in his truck, parked in front of his house on Oak Street, and they thought he was drunk. An ambulance arrived and Randolph was determined to have diabetes.

“In these situations, and I have seen several, he does not want help even though he needs medical help,” Burley said.

The sheriff said his officers are trained to recognize people who are suffering a diabetic episode. “I have had an opportunity to review the video of the incident,” Lott said in his affidavit, ”and it is my personal opinion and professional opinion based upon training we provide at the Sheriff’s Department that Dr. Randolph was obviously acting erratically and in a fashion that proves to my satisfaction that he was suffering a diabetic episode.”

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