SC

Azar: The Politics Of Benjamin Vs. Randolph

Most in Columbia, S.C. have heard by now about the saga of Dr. Lonnie Randolph and the incident at Tripp’s Cleaners. Dr. Randolph was reported to have had a diabetic incident that caused him to act quite out of character, become unruly, and get taken in by the Columbia, S.C….

Most in Columbia, S.C. have heard by now about the saga of Dr. Lonnie Randolph and the incident at Tripp’s Cleaners. Dr. Randolph was reported to have had a diabetic incident that caused him to act quite out of character, become unruly, and get taken in by the Columbia, S.C. police department (CPD). In the process both the chief of police and the city manager arrived on the scene, either during or after the incident, which seems to have caused much discussion and community concern. In response, mayor Steve Benjamin proposed a city ordinance that council members could not be on any police scene. That ordinance failed on council in a 5-1 vote, and rightly it should have.

Dr. Randolph is known to have had diabetic problems for many years, causing irrational (out of character) behavior. Though I have had no experience with diabetes or associated problems, when I heard of Dr. Randolph’s situation, I was quite surprised. The behavior described was extremely out of character for him. So I remained quiet until more of the facts were presented, and the main one was a diabetic episode that caused him to be out of normal consciousness, as related by the news media, his attorney, and Dr. Randolph’s friends.

Let me tell you of the Dr. Randolph I know. Though I have known of him for many years, and we talk occasionally, we are at best acquaintances, not friends. However. every personal experience has been an honest experience, no lies, misleading statements, no sugar coating, just straightforward, honest – often vey bluntly so – conversation. I have yet to find him attempting to mislead or pander to me. He is often blunt, and can be very “in your face” if he feels strongly and strongly disagrees. He can abrasive and dismissive as well. But he has always been honest, at least in our discussions (and arguments), and I have never caught him in any lie or misleading context. Maybe others have, and I cannot speak to that, but I doubt that as he seems to value integrity far over political expedience or “being liked.” As a result, I always have felt that I can take his word “to the bank”, meaning that if I re-quote him, he would still say the same and verify that he said that to me and/or others.

In other words, though I do not always agree with Dr. Randolph – and have criticized him on some issues – I highly respect his integrity and value his word. Regardless of our positions, he is always welcome in my house and I will always not only respect his word, but ask for his observations and opinions. So far I have never been disappointed in his integrity, nor do I expect to be.

The position Benjamin has taken toward the Dr. Randolph case is somewhat surprising. Dr. Randolph has verification of his problem by friends, family and medical experts alike. In a case like this charges are often dropped by legal authorities as going to court serves no purpose, wastes time that can be used to try the backlog of cases already jammed into the system, wastes police time, wastes city attorney time, and wastes taxpayers’ money.

Of course, many would expect that a black mayor would give a free pass to the state head of the NAACP, which has not been the case here, and many feel it shows no special favor on the mayor’s part. Unfortunately, this is not thought of to be the real intent by those who follow city politics closely. One astute political operative, one of darker skin color than I, said this: “Benjamin’s trying to get white votes by beating up on Lonnie.”

That was something that had not crossed my mind. What had immediately come to mind over this was that Dr. Randolph had supported Steve Morrison for mayor over Benjamin: the state chairman of the NAACP, a black man, supported a white man for mayor over a black man. In my mind this was a way for Benjamin to get back at Dr. Randolph.

Dr. Randolph, in my humble opinion, is an honorable and trustworthy man. This unfortunate situation has been verified to be caused by a medical condition that is out of his control – much like an epileptic seizure. Unless there has been material damage – or Tripp’s Cleaners has reasonable reason to press charges – I agree that this case should be dropped for the reasons stated above, saving taxpayers’ money, and taking the politics out of it.

After all, this would not be the first, nor 12,395th time a case has been dropped for medical and/or extenuating reasons. They are all the time, and for ordinary, average citizens, in the name of fairness.

Joe Azar is a Columbia, S.C. businessman and former mayoral candidate. To subscribe to his newsletter on Columbia, S.C. political issues, email him here.

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28 comments

don August 11, 2013 at 6:29 pm

I have known Randolf for a long long time. He is easy as hell to wind up. He is excitable and while I have no knowledge of the incident I was surprised at all.

Does he have an illness? Yes. Is that illness responsible? That is why we have court.

Should senior city employees be at crime scenes? Hell no. Commons sense tell one that.

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? August 11, 2013 at 8:16 pm

“Should senior city employees be at crime scenes? Hell no.”

When would they go to work?

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Frank Pytel August 12, 2013 at 4:50 am

BBBWWWww3aahahahhahahaahahahahahah. Funny :)

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shifty henry August 12, 2013 at 9:27 am

I have to stop sipping my coffee when reading some of these posts!

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don August 11, 2013 at 6:29 pm

I have known Randolf for a long long time. He is easy as hell to wind up. He is excitable and while I have no knowledge of the incident I was surprised at all.

Does he have an illness? Yes. Is that illness responsible? That is why we have court.

Should senior city employees be at crime scenes? Hell no. Commons sense tell one that.

Reply
? August 11, 2013 at 8:16 pm

“Should senior city employees be at crime scenes? Hell no.”

When would they go to work?

Reply
Frank Pytel August 12, 2013 at 4:50 am

BBBWWWww3aahahahhahahaahahahahahah. Funny :)

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shifty henry August 12, 2013 at 9:27 am

I have to stop sipping my coffee when reading some of these posts!

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Citizen Cane August 11, 2013 at 9:28 pm

And who is Azar?

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Citizen Cane August 11, 2013 at 9:28 pm

And who is Azar?

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Frank Pytel August 12, 2013 at 5:06 am

Mr. Azar;

It’s a wonderful thing to have friends. That you support your friend in this matter is truly commendable. Yet I can’t help feeling at a loss for your lackadaisical support for leadership that is undeserving.

There is a saying I am quite sure you have heard. ‘The blind leading the blind’. Appreciating that this saying may not exactly fit your interest in Dr. Randolphs continued elevation to a position of leadership, I think it could be easily paraphrased to fit the circumstances.

It’s probably not the best decision to have the fellow with tourettes leading the sales team. :)

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Frank Pytel August 12, 2013 at 5:06 am

Mr. Azar;

It’s a wonderful thing to have friends. That you support your friend in this matter is truly commendable. Yet I can’t help feeling at a loss for your lackadaisical support for leadership that is undeserving.

There is a saying I am quite sure you have heard. ‘The blind leading the blind’. Appreciating that this saying may not exactly fit your interest in Dr. Randolphs continued elevation to a position of leadership, I think it could be easily paraphrased to fit the circumstances.

It’s probably not the best decision to have the fellow with tourettes leading the sales team. :)

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The Colonel August 12, 2013 at 2:40 pm

This editorial smacks of a “:…my black friend…” piece someone would write trying to prove they were not a racist while leaving enough doubt for his other friends to assure them that “he really doesn’t like the darkies”. While Azar has some good ideas for Columbia the rest of his political goofiness made him a “Ron Paulesque” “never had a chance” mayoral candidate at best.

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The Colonel (R) August 12, 2013 at 2:40 pm

This editorial smacks of a “:…my black friend…” piece someone would write trying to prove they were not a racist while leaving enough doubt for his other friends to assure them that “he really doesn’t like the darkies”. While Azar has some good ideas for Columbia the rest of his political goofiness made him a “Ron Paulesque” “never had a chance” mayoral candidate at best.

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Thomas August 12, 2013 at 6:10 pm

He can take that blunt, in your face attitude back to the hood. There is no objective medical evidence to support “someones” claim he acted the way he did. He did not offer that defense, supporters did! The arresting officers WANT a jury trial. He punked out those at Tripps, the arresting officers, and he should resign in disgrace as President, SC chapter of NAACP.

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Thomas August 12, 2013 at 6:10 pm

He can take that blunt, in your face attitude back to the hood. There is no objective medical evidence to support “someones” claim he acted the way he did. He did not offer that defense, supporters did! The arresting officers WANT a jury trial. He punked out those at Tripps, the arresting officers, and he should resign in disgrace as President, SC chapter of NAACP.

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Hotshot August 12, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Having been in the presence of older people who have had diabetic episodes, each person is affected different. I have seen some revert to a disoriented state of mind, some child like, and some very aggressive behavior. These episodes happen when the blood sugar levels drop. Normally the individual has not eaten within a reasonable time after taking his or her insulin. Some of the smallest older people will surprise you when going through an episode. Once they can get something to eat and the blood sugar level is back to normal, the individual is fine. I have observed that the aggressive behavior occur more so in males. Unless you are around older people who suffer with these episodes, one may not know.

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Hotshot August 12, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Having been in the presence of older people who have had diabetic episodes, each person is affected different. I have seen some revert to a disoriented state of mind, some child like, and some very aggressive behavior. These episodes happen when the blood sugar levels drop. Normally the individual has not eaten within a reasonable time after taking his or her insulin. Some of the smallest older people will surprise you when going through an episode. Once they can get something to eat and the blood sugar level is back to normal, the individual is fine. I have observed that the aggressive behavior occur more so in males. Unless you are around older people who suffer with these episodes, one may not know.

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princetondaley August 12, 2013 at 9:50 pm

Joe, you’re not exactly getting to the real point of frustration by people regarding this situation. The real issue is the fact that preferential treatment was given to a well known individual in Columbia. Bottom line: Wilson should have never gone to Tripps.

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princetondaley August 12, 2013 at 9:50 pm

Joe, you’re not exactly getting to the real point of frustration by people regarding this situation. The real issue is the fact that preferential treatment was given to a well known individual in Columbia. Bottom line: Wilson should have never gone to Tripps.

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BrigidBernadette August 12, 2013 at 10:03 pm

if he was so out of it he was struck by police officers, who are trained to deal with insulin shock and would have turned him over to the EMS who should have taken him to a hospital, why did he refuse medical treatment? How did he then get into his car and drive away, some say he drove out of town immediately following the incident. Did he A.) pull out a monitor and check his blood glucose level and B.) did he stabilize his glucose with food or a shot of insulin? If he did not, then there is no case, he was simply being an out-of-control asshole. Why are these details missing?

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Brigid August 12, 2013 at 10:03 pm

if he was so out of it he was struck by police officers, who are trained to deal with insulin shock and would have turned him over to the EMS who should have taken him to a hospital, why did he refuse medical treatment? How did he then get into his car and drive away, some say he drove out of town immediately following the incident. Did he A.) pull out a monitor and check his blood glucose level and B.) did he stabilize his glucose with food or a shot of insulin? If he did not, then there is no case, he was simply being an out-of-control asshole. Why are these details missing?

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cooter August 13, 2013 at 1:54 pm

bs

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The Colonel August 13, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Cooter! Where the heck have you been?

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cooter August 13, 2013 at 1:56 pm

heer an’ thare. mostlie on th’ farcebuk. come an’ see me sometines…

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cooter August 13, 2013 at 1:54 pm

bs

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The Colonel (R) August 13, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Cooter! Where the heck have you been?

Reply
cooter August 13, 2013 at 1:56 pm

heer an’ thare. mostlie on th’ farcebuk. come an’ see me sometines…

Reply

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