So Bakari Sellers Got Popped For DUI

S.C. Rep. Bakari Sellers (D-Bamberg) – a rising star in Palmetto politics – was busted for driving under the influence last fall following a University of South Carolina football game. The 28-year-old lawmaker – widely regarded as one of the more substantive policy voices in Columbia, S.C. – failed three…

bakari dui

S.C. Rep. Bakari Sellers (D-Bamberg) – a rising star in Palmetto politics – was busted for driving under the influence last fall following a University of South Carolina football game.

The 28-year-old lawmaker – widely regarded as one of the more substantive policy voices in Columbia, S.C. – failed three field sobriety tests after being pulled over in Chester County on October 7.

“I came up on him, he switched lanes in front of me, no turn signal, then drifted back; almost hit the back end of a tractor trailer,” the officer who busted Sellers recalled.

On a dash cam video of Sellers’ arrest, the young lawmaker acknowledged he had been drinking but repeatedly told the officer he was “tired.” Sellers later refused a breathalyzer exam – which guaranteed him a six-month suspension of his drivers’ license thanks to law signed by former Gov. Mark Sanford in 2008.

While some political operatives have pounced on Sellers’ arrest, members of both parties have defended him.

“I just want to remind people that no one is perfect, and that he who is without sin (should) cast the first stone,” GOP operative David Carter wrote on his Facebook page.

That’s probably a wise position to take. After all, based on our experience the blood alcohol level of the average Republican lawmaker in South Carolina rarely drops below the legal limit – even during the day (and then there are the GOP outliers).

Politically speaking we don’t expect Sellers’ DUI bust to amount to much. In fact compared to the May 2012 DUI arrest of S.C. Rep. Ted Vick (D-Chesterfield) it’s positively tame.

For those of you who missed that story, Vick pulled off the “Grand Slam” of traffic busts when we was caught speeding, driving under the influence and carrying an unauthorized firearm – all while traveling with a college coed (Vick is not only married, he’s one of those “family values” democrats).

Based on that standard, Sellers’ arrest is practically a non-event.


Related posts


Beaufort County Corruption Investigations Referred To South Carolina Statewide Grand Jury

Will Folks

Attempt To Toss Charleston Day Lawsuit Denied


Lowcountry South Carolina Teacher Investigation: The Origin Story

Will Folks


Perer February 7, 2013 at 8:04 am

After all the Republicans you drag through the mud, you’re going to give this guy a pass?

Truth February 7, 2013 at 2:37 pm

How much did Petey Strom pay you to write this sleeper story?

keepingemhonest February 7, 2013 at 8:06 am

FITS: You are missing the story here. The real story with Bakari is how his suspension got dismissed.

He refused to take a breathalyzer test, which results in a MANDATORY six month suspension…no ifs, buts or maybes if you are a regular person. Somehow, his suspension got dismissed and he was driving again in less than three months.

Who got leaned on to get him back under the wheel?

David Carter February 7, 2013 at 8:43 am

No one was leaned on. It is called appealing the suspension, which any DUI attorney will advise you to do, and ask for a provisional DL. As a general rule, most LE officers don’t show up for the hearing and the SC DMV will issue the provisional.

Zobro February 7, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Your a douche.

Get some fucking character standards to live by.

Anonymous February 7, 2013 at 8:10 am

Most lawyers I’ve talked to recommend refusing breathalyzer.

Mike at the Beach February 7, 2013 at 6:39 pm

Very true, if you’re drunk. If you’ve had fewer than a drink or drink-and-a-half an hour, blow it. You’ll pass.

Sellers Fan February 7, 2013 at 8:12 am

If the dash cam video is full length, you have to give it to Bakari. At no point did he mention that he was a legislator or try to use his political sway with the officer. He was polite and compliant.

Half of those guys and their children jump to use their positions when caught in situations like this. Hell, even Dabo and his brother think that they should get to use Dabo’s football position to get out of tickets.

At 28, Bakari shows more maturity in this video than half of the “important” figures in our State have in 50 + years.

but... February 7, 2013 at 10:44 am

can you still show maturity while drinking and driving– putting other lives in danger?

but... February 7, 2013 at 10:47 am

However I do agree with you about Dabo!! :)

Pokey February 8, 2013 at 11:25 pm

“At 28, Bakari shows more maturity in this video than half of the “important” figures in our State have in 50 + years.”

That’s still not saying a whole lot.

Explain all the other driving offenses and suspensions?

We also filed a Freedom of Information Act request on Sellers’ 10-year driving record and found 14 traffic violations. He did not show up to court 11 times and did not pay the ticket, which led to a string of driver’s license suspensions from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

“I take responsibility for those things,” Sellers said. “As you see, we’ve gone back and addressed all those matters. I did have a poor driving record, I don’t shy away from that.”

Sellers’ record also shows a speeding conviction in Georgia where he was driving 94 miles an hour in a 70 miles per hour zone, then didn’t show for court. Georgia suspended his license.

The record shows five months later, Sellers got another Georgia speeding ticket, didn’t pay it, and Georgia suspened his license for a year and a half.

North Carolina suspended Sellers’ license for nearly three months in 2010 and 2011 after he didn’t show for court on two speeding tickets.

Over the course of the next 4 years, Sellers’ license would be suspended another 10 times because he would not show for court dates and wouldn’t pay the tickets.

Torch February 7, 2013 at 8:13 am

Unless you’re one of the poor in SC, you get off fairly light if there are only DUI charges. Can’t remember anyone I know that got the full DUI sentence.

Anonymous February 7, 2013 at 8:20 am

What time of day or night did this occur? If it was 2 AM or so, he was drunk. Absent a breathalyzer, time of day is usually the best “tell”.

Smirks February 7, 2013 at 8:24 am

DUI is still DUI. You’re putting other peoples’ lives at risk when you do it. Mistakes happen, no one is perfect, but that’s a terrible attitude to have towards this. There’s a difference between poor judgement and poor judgement that could cost innocent people their lives. Sellers may not have done something rare in SC politics (let alone for someone in particular in the Supreme Court), but that’s extremely shameful in and of itself and shouldn’t be used to excuse him, even if you find his politics commendable.

The only difference between the outcome of this and the outcome of Steve Benjamin’s drive is circumstance and luck. There’s no such thing as a good drunk driver, just a lucky as hell one.

shifty henry February 7, 2013 at 9:19 am

…… agreeing with you—- we all know stories of hits, misses, and near-misses caused by driving under the influence—-

Jay Elliott February 7, 2013 at 10:26 am

What evidence do you have that Steve Benjamin was under the influence at the time of the accident?

Astute1 February 7, 2013 at 10:29 am

No excuses but it is more dangerous to be texting, emailing, making phone calls, etc, while driving. I see that happening everyday, at all hours.

Sarge February 7, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Jay Elliott: The Columbia PD robbed us of the opportunity to ever know whether or not Benjamin was under the influence, now didn’t they?

James the Foot Soldier February 7, 2013 at 8:39 am

Speaking of vehicular manslaughter how is the Mayor of the Po Mo Fo Lo Info city doing?

Upstate February 7, 2013 at 8:53 am

Are you sure it wasn’t an SC State game?

Wet Willie February 7, 2013 at 9:08 am

Sellers is a Univ of SC grad, attends football games regularly if not religiously, and is proud to be a graduate of the law school at the Univ of SC as well. Why the question of it being an SC State game?

James the Foot Soldier February 7, 2013 at 9:38 am

Woohoo, a “graduate” of the University of South Carolina law school.

Which produces crop after crop of ambulance chasing disbility scamming “bright stars” who can’t lawyer themselves out of a paper bag.

darksied calling February 7, 2013 at 9:39 am

Does anyone believe in coincidence? One the same day that Jim Clyburn is being touted by the Congressional Democrat Black Caucus for Transportation Secretary this story on Sellers breaks. Keep in mind that Rep. Clyburn’s daughter, Mignon Clyburn, is considered by some to be eyeing her daddy’s congressional seat. Another name on the list of potential candidates?? Bakari Sellers. This sure looks like a shot across Seller’s proverbial bow of how the Clyburn’s like to play.

I20ride February 7, 2013 at 9:44 am

Who cares? He’s someone that actually passes legislation and gives a crap about his constituents. Don’t sit there behind your computer lying and judging someone of something you dont know the full facts on and you’ve probably done yourself.

SubZeroIQ February 7, 2013 at 10:07 am

To David Carter:
“As a general rule, most LE officers don’t show up for the hearing”? If true, THAT IS THE REAL SCANDAL.

I am all for “innocent until proven guilty.” But the suspension of license is NOT punishment but a provisional measure to protect society.
If you are the same David Carter who texted “let him without sin cast the first stone” I am without THAT sin; and I am casting the first stone AT YOU and AT THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY.

I risked being found in contempt of court when, while waiting for my turn in magistrate’s court, I gasped when I saw the supposed prosecutor, Carter Potts, son of Frank Potts (who supposedly monitors the greast annual $ million/year theft that is the private lawyer program of the insurance reserve fund) say that he will NOT oppose a motion to dismiss the DUI charge of one Richard Mason because the trooper did not show up or did not keep the record or something.

When I saw this happen in case after case, I realized it was not an isolated error. It was a pattern, a conspriacy, negligence. I wrote a letter about it to then-Chief Judge Cooper. Cooper’s response? He ordered that I be arrested if I tried to quietly observe the goings-on in his court, where light sentences for rich drug dealers were dispensed with the same shamelessness as the dismissal of DUI charges.

Ironically, that same day, I ran into then-Colonel Lancaster and explained to him that drunk drivers are equal opportunity killers. He invited me to e-mail him the information. I did. He did NOTHING. Later, I realized it was the same Lancaster of the adultery scandal and Richard Mason had protested when he was arrested for DUI that he was a private investigator.

I also testified before the Judicial Merit Selection Commission against Frank Potts’ then-boss, John Meadors, becoming a judge and I brought up the light and negligent dealing with DUI suspects. JMSC’s response? They found John Meadors (who had failed his bar exam at least once) “qualified and nominated.” Thank God, he did never get elected.

I do NOT hope any of the people behind this scandal become themselves victims of a drunk driver. But I DO hope, one of the lawyers for the families of at least some of the repeat drunk drivers currently on trial sues the lawyers who got him/her off or sued the Department of Public Safety and Colonel Lancaster for this scandal which endangers the public.
People may sue a bar who over-served drinks to someone who later causes an accident. Under certain conditions, they may even sue the host of a private party for over-serving alcohol.
Why should we not be able to sue those who corruptly let drunk drivers off.
Finally, I liked Mr. Sellers even though I disagree with some of his positions. But I think those defending him now are doing him no service. He should step aside and deal with his problem before it is too late. If things don’t get better, they get worse.

David Carter February 7, 2013 at 10:14 am

The provisional only gets you through to your trial date. It allows those who have been arrested for DUI 1st to get to and from work. I should have done a better job of explaining the process.

Just Sayin February 7, 2013 at 10:37 am

We don’t choose to invest money in hiring prosecutors in a lot of these cases, which means police officers have to prosecute their own cases. If they have other pressing police work, it means they don’t show. Even where a solicitor is trying the case, without the officer there to authenticate certain pieces of evidence, it can’t come in, anyway. Which means the solicitor would have to try the driver with no evidence and would lose – so dropping the case makes sense. I’m not advocating for or against the rules or results, I just think it is misguided to claim the solicitor is in the wrong in those instances.

SubZeroIQ February 7, 2013 at 10:25 am

To David Carter:
Even so, if it were automatic to get a provisional without a hearing, the law should be changed.
If a hearing is necessary to get a provisional, that means something needs to be decided at the hearing. There may be valid reasons to not issue a provisional pending trial. If provisionals get issued just because there is a conspiracy of “law enforcement officers” to “not show up,” that is still a scandal.
At the very least, the court or hearing officer should continue the hearing and require the officer and whoever else can show cause the provisional should not be issued to attend.
For some people, driver’s license suspension is a hardship. For others it is not at all.
BUT a drunk driver can kill while operating with a provisional just as with a regular license or with no license.
The state could have a MANDATORY shuttle service for those arrested for DUI or other suspension-mandating offenses until trial.

That is a very small price to pay for human life.
I would like Mr. Sellers to introduce such a bill: mandatory suspension, no provisional BUT state-provided shuttle to and from work to be paid by the defendant in case of a conviction and to be borne by the State in case of acquittal.

Mr. Sellers, let some good come out of this.
And FITS, do you want your children in the path of Mr. Sellers on a provisional license?

Mike at the Beach February 7, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Do you know Boz?

GreenvilleLwyr February 7, 2013 at 10:34 am

So a member of the House Judiciary Committee is arrested and hires the chair of the House Judiciary Committee to represent him. Yeah, the odds of this ending in a conviction are about the same as the odds of Gov. Haley and Mrs. Sic having tea together…

SubZeroIQ February 7, 2013 at 10:38 am

Again, please, let some good come out of this.
People should not get provisionals willie-nillie.
They should be suspended and the State should provide their necessary transportation until trial. That is cheaper on the short run and on the long run and everything in-between.
After all, they justed added a penny tax for public transportation in Richland County. They can use some of that for mandatory shuttles for the suspended. Maybe the friendships formed on the bus will be a “provisional” AA meeting.

SubZeroIQ February 7, 2013 at 10:40 am

To Just Saying:
Actually, we invest too much money in prosecutors. The problem is: those are hired on patronage, not merit.

Just Sayin February 7, 2013 at 10:56 am

Yeah we get your opinion. The fact that you focus on trying to highlight conspiracies and not on identifying systemic problems and possible solutions explains why those who you have reached out to are unresponsive. Whether or not there is a nepotism problem in the hiring of solicitors has no bearing on what cases are assigned to solicitors or what evidence they may present in court without an officer to authenticate it. Also, the fact that Rep. Sellers has never been charged with DUI, combined with the fact that the hardship of losing his license would be particularly difficult for him since he must travel from his home in Bamberg to get to work or to the legislature was probably justification to allow him to get his license back pending trial. Innocent until proven guilty and all that jazz.

SubZeroIQ February 7, 2013 at 11:07 am

Just Sayin:
First, I offered a solution: providing State-funded shuttle to possibly-dangerous drives pending trial.
Second, whether one gets a provisional or not should not turn on whether one needs or not. It should turn on whether one continues to be a danger with a provisional. So, if someone goes and says “I need to drive so badly, but I may drink and drive while going to and back from work” should he/she get a provisional?
Third, the solicitor HAS THE POWER TO SUBPOENA the arresting law enforcement officers and all necessary witnesses for the hearing.
Fourth, the Circuit Solicitor is required BY LAW to annually report to the County and the Legislature. If there is a systemic refusal or negligence to appear for provisional hearings, that should have gone into the reports.
Fifth, those to whom I reached out were unresponsive for the very reason the problems exist in the first place. They wer hired (or even elected) on patronage and connections. They need not do anything except strengthen the patronage and connections. And they are too afraid to do anything that endangers the patronage and connections. Endangering the public and innocent people is perfectly acceptable to them.
Finally, I do NOT hope that you become a victim of one of them; but if you were or had been, you would have been more indignant than I am.
Be part of the solution, not the problem.

jimlewis,owb February 7, 2013 at 11:11 am

Jesus Christ someone forgot to lock the fucking cage, again.

SubZeroIQ February 7, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Is that code for “FITS didn’t get the memo about not letting HER post”?
Whatever issues I have with FITS, I must give him this: he shows courage in allowing most posts.
The one post he censored from me recently wasn’t because he was threatened, but because he had copied my ideas.

Isotope Soap February 7, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Copied your ideas? Scared to ask…

Real Housewife of Forest Lake Club February 7, 2013 at 12:25 pm

As the say in the Junior League, never blow.

Truth February 7, 2013 at 2:40 pm

I thought it was always yes to the blow in that club!

SubZeroIQ February 7, 2013 at 1:08 pm

To Isotope Soap:
It was not a big deal; but I expected better from FITS. His piece on sex between teacher and legally-adult student being wrong but it should not be a crime copied a piece The State published from me on Thursday, 10 January 2013.
I tried to post a link to my piece. I got a response that it was awaiting moderation, with which I had no problem.
But it never got past moderation on FITS.
It may still be available in The State archive Web Site.
Don’t be scared to ask.

Isotope Soap February 7, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Fair enough. I believe he’s pulled that one before.

Crooner February 7, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Don’t dance and don’t blow.

I’ll bet the officer who nabbed him further recalled:

he had a strong odor of alcohol about him

his eyes were glassy

he slurred his words

he was unsteady on his feet

he fumbled for his license

I think that pretty much covers the standard litany.

South Mauldin February 7, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Yep. I can’t do most of those tests while sober.

John Q. Law February 7, 2013 at 2:18 pm

I wonder if this will start a look into other shady things he has done in the past, like his honor code violation at the law school that somehow basically got brushed under the rug when he should have been expelled from school.

SubZeroIQ February 7, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Whoa! Is this true? If it isn’t, please retract.
But if it is, do tell.
If true, it would be the South Carolina version of Ted Kennedy cheating at Princeton, getting away with it, then Chappaquiddic happened.
The irony is the children of the self-made are spoiled. But is should not always be so.
Those who really love Bakari should exercise some tough love with him.
But speaking of law school. Does anyone one know why Teresa Wilson, the $200K/per year Columbia City Manager, is not a licensed lawyer.
She says she graduated from law school. Did she never take the bar or take it and failed it so many times she gave up?
She is another child of the self-made who got it made in the shade.
It is very sad that the children of the civil rights heroes are spoiled Kennedy-likes. The third generation Kennedys was even worse than Ted Kennedy. This spiral of moral decline must stop.
Bakari, love yourself toughly.
There are many who can get you out of this one.
But only you can get back you integrity.

Law school classmate February 8, 2013 at 4:27 pm

Sellers had a ton of absences his last semester in law school. When you sign your exam in law school you confirm you did not miss more than the allowed number of days. He signed and took his exams. Someone turned him in and he got to do something over the summer to make it all up when he should have been expelled for an honor code violation.

Teresa Wilson could not pass the bar. Most her classmates aren’t sure how she passed law school. I don’t know if she only took it once or took it 2-3 times. There is a reason she graduated law school and became an elementary/middle school (whichever) teacher after that.

jurisdoc February 7, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Too bad some people don’t even have a basic kindergarten level of understanding when it comes to our criminal justice system but decide they are qualified to comment on it.

Oh what the hell, I’ll do it too . . . . . “I think neurosurgeons should use rusty nails for surgery as the rust will likely kill all the bad germs that might get inside subzero’s cranium. To allow them to use sterilized scapels is an injustice and probably a conspiracy by Obama’s Nazi party to make black people rise above the crackers.” (I threw that last part in for Big T)

ed rollins February 7, 2013 at 6:29 pm

Bakari must stay on the road a lot.
5 tickets in Orangeburg County , one 20 miles per hour over limit
3 tickets in Chester County, one was DUI
1 ticket in Fairfield COUNTY

BacaRAT February 7, 2013 at 11:29 pm

He is more qualified for congress than I realized.

Sarge February 7, 2013 at 8:41 pm

Bakari Sellers is a South Carolina lawyer
Bakari Sellers is in the South Carolina legislature.
Bakari Sellers made a mistake.

Congratulations, Mr. Sellers:
The good news is that you will not be convicted of DUI. That’s a promise.
The bad news is that you are Queen Jean Toal’s new bitch.
You will vote as she tells you on any bill in which she has even the most casual interest.
You will vote for any Judiciary Budget she proposes.
You will vote for the judicial candidate you tells you to vote for.
You will help any Democratic candidate she chooses to support.
You will support any bills any of her favorite legislators support and want passed.
You will ignore her corrupt Office of Disciplinary Counsel and you will not ever, even think of suggesting she implement and fair and honest system.
Have a good political career from here on out.

SubZeroIQ February 7, 2013 at 9:32 pm

Sarge and Bakari:
I would not have believed any of this if I had not seen some of it myself.
What I cannot understand is how can a whole state acquiesce to this.
Bakari, Jean Toal is not God.
Jean Toal is two years from mandatory retirement; that is if her Alzheimer’s does not become impossible to hide before then.
Unlike Karen Williams, former Chief Judge of the Fourth Circuit, Jean Toal will not have the integrity to step down. But there will be a little girl who cries “The Empress has no clothes.”
Where would that leave you Bakari? Ending up like former Congressman Jesse Jackson junior?
God and you alone know if you are innocent or guilty.
Fire your lawyer either way.
You are a lawyer too; but stop lawyering. The laws of nature cannot be lawyered away.
If you are guilty, plead guilty. Ask to be sentenced to treatment. Commit yourself to it.
You are too young to make the wrong choice now.
Yes, there are swords out for you; but alcoholism is a more lethal sword than you political opponents.
Deal with the problem and return with a message of truth and hope.
If you are innocent, just tell the truth to the jury. Insist on no special treatment.
Be the turning point away from business as unsual in this corrupt state.
Godspeed and God bless.

oh goodness now February 8, 2013 at 9:37 pm

Sub Zero, most people were under the impression – with reason – that Mean Jean is in the midst of a pretty successful effort to the Gen. Assembly to change the law to where she can continue “serving”

SubZeroIQ February 8, 2013 at 9:52 pm

So, what do you expect ME to do about it?
You know in the old series “Rich Man Poor Man,” Jordache’s lawyer asks “What happened to the boy who cried ‘The Emperor has no clothes’?” and the client answers “He was probably beaten to death.”
I am a little girl who cried “The Empress has no clothes.”
Courage is not fearlessness. Courage is doing the right thing while overcoming legitimate fears.
Here is my question: With the level of corruption in the judiciary that is no longer whispered but openly lamented, why is an entire state sitting by and accepting it?
I have an idea of part of an answer: Three years ago, Jean Toal stopped all foreclosures. Yes, many banks were at fault. But also many buyers fraudulently defaulted on purpose to get the banks to give them or their shadow buyers a short-sale. That undoubtedly made Jean Toal very popular with people in foreclosure.
But, like the expected “getting off” of Bakari Sellers, it is not good for the people who got off OR FOR THE PUBLIC.

And here is my other question: Can a judge “order” his cancer or her Alzheimer’s away, no matter how powerful that judge is?

The laws of nature are higher than man-made laws.
But even under man-made laws, such drastic changes to the State Constitution cannot be made in the dark of night.

Good night and God bless.


Leave a Comment