SC NAACP chief’s trial pushed to December

jself@thestate.comOctober 11, 2013 



NAACP director Lonnie Randolph’s trial for a misdemeanor arrest after an incident at a Five Points dry cleaning business is tentatively set for Dec. 9.

Municipal court Judge Steedley Bogan set the court date Friday, further delaying the case that was expected to go to trial next week, said Randolph’s attorney, Joe McCulloch.

Randolph is charged with disorderly conduct, trespassing and resisting arrest, stemming from the July 12 incident when he was arrested after behaving erratically – behavior that resulted from a diabetic episode, Randolph and McCulloch say.

Officers reported that an employee asked Randolph to leave Tripp’s Fine Cleaners and was outside when officers arrived. Randolph became irritated and struggled with officers as they handcuffed him and used force to put him in the patrol car, according to the incident report.

Randolph has a history of suffering from diabetic episodes, McCulloch said.

Randolph was taken to the hospital after the incident but refused treatment. Court documents say that Randolph’s condition improved with soft drinks.

McCulloch has submitted several affidavits from community leaders familiar with Randolph’s diabetes and how it affects him. Sheriff Leon Lott and S.C. Rep. Kirkman Finlay were among those signing affidavits presented in support of dismissing charges.

Randolph’s attorney asked the judge Friday to compel city attorneys to provide copies of Columbia Police Department policies, and personnel and training records of the officers involved in or witness to the incident – documents he requested in July and August, he said.

City Attorney David Fernandez objected to providing training records of officers who he expects to call as witnesses, citing “judicial economy,” meaning it would take too much time.

But Bogan granted McCulloch’s request for the documents.

McCulloch said his goal is to find out whether the police department has in place policies that ensure officers are trained to identify and deal with diabetic episodes and “ambiguous” health issues.

Some of Randolph’s teeth were knocked out during the incident and his arms and leg were injured.

In 2009 Randolph had a similar episode and near arrest by police after pulling up in front of his house, McCulloch said.

While McCulloch and a neighbor familiar with Randolph’s diabetes were able to intervene before an arrest, McCulloch said the incident led to McCulloch and Randolph asking the city attorney to review department policies for using force and training for recognizing behaviors associated with diabetes and other medical conditions.

“I want to fix this so that other people will be protected from activities such as the ones I’ve experienced over the years,” Randolph said Friday in a phone interview.

Reach Self at (803)771-8658

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