Another Reason To Hate The Columbia SC Police

The City of Columbia, S.C. police department (CPD) is a joke, people … but if you live in South Carolina’s capital city, you knew that already. Here’s how it works: If you’re a violent criminal or a gang member, you’re pretty much free to rape and plunder at will. But…

The City of Columbia, S.C. police department (CPD) is a joke, people … but if you live in South Carolina’s capital city, you knew that already.

Here’s how it works: If you’re a violent criminal or a gang member, you’re pretty much free to rape and plunder at will. But if you’re a college kid trying to enjoy a beer on the weekend … they will hunt you down like the dog you are.

How come? Easy: There’s a lot of money to be made in busting underage drinkers (especially in a college town like Columbia) but not so much to be made in actually fighting crime. Of course that’s why we give law enforcement tens of millions of dollars in tax money every year, but whatever. We digress.

Anyway …

The CPD’s interim police chief Ruben Santiago took to Facebook this week to brag about seizing $40,000 worth of marijuana from the apartment of a Columbia, S.C. man – another glaring example of piss poor public safety prioritization.

Santiago’s social media chest pumping prompted one poster, Brian Whitmer, to respond with what pretty much everyone was thinking.

“Maybe u should arrest the people shooting people in 5 points instead of worrying about a stoner that’s not bothering anyone. It’ll be legal here one day anyway,” Whitmer wrote.

That’s a legitimate criticism right? Right …

Of course … but the interim chief was not amused.

“We have arrested all the violent offenders in Five (P)oints,” Santiago responded. “Thank you for sharing your views and giving us reasonable suspicion to believe you might be a criminal, we will work on finding you.”

Wait … what???

Santiago quickly deleted his comment (and Whitmer’s original remark), but not before the exchange had been screen-capped.

Take a look …

(Click to enlarge)

cpd exchange

Pic: Facebook

Of course shortly thereafter Santiago doubled down on his ridiculous statement, writing in a subsequent post “I put everyone on notice that if you advocate for the use of illegal substances in the City of Columbia then it’s reasonable to believe that you MIGHT also be involved in that particular activity.”


That’s about the most ridiculous logic we’ve ever heard …

This website’s founding editor hasn’t touched alcohol or drugs in more than seven years … yet FITS is the Palmetto State’s foremost media advocate for the de-criminalization of marijuana and other drugs (and the foremost critic of this nation’s colossally failed “war” against these substances).

Does that mean Santiago has “reasonable” suspicion to come after us, too?

What a joke …

Ruben Santiago needs to spend more time fighting real crime and less time threatening people for expressing their views.

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CorruptionInColumbia November 1, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Brandon Whitmire should be very careful for a while. Santiago’s stock in trade seems to be going “black ops” on people who get in his way. Brandon may soon find a stolen gun and narcotics planted in his car or elsewhere so that it incriminates him.

What was the result of the sled coverup, er, investigation into the shenanigans at CPD involving Santiago? I understand they hired his enforcer Wiser back, after Wiser made a short move to USC.

That this ass clown is allowed to “run” the department given the allegations against him and quite a few anecdotal bits of evidence that the accusations are well founded is scary.

How will the Lott Family resolve removing Santiago from the top spot at CPD so Sypolt can receive the reward he was promised for backing out and throwing his support to T-Bone?

easterndumbfuckastan November 1, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Leon won’t run for reelection in 2014, Shorty will run and be elected Sheriff, Ruben will be Chief Deputy and Vincent Sheheen will appoint Leon to the Chief of SLED aka statewide g-d of law enforcement.

CorruptionInColumbia November 1, 2013 at 8:27 pm

Scary as it is, what you said is entirely plausible and possible. The tentacles of the Lott Family will reach all over SC, not just into RC and at least one adjoining county.

The Colonel November 2, 2013 at 8:04 am

So whacked out that it might just be plausible.

CorruptionInColumbia November 1, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Oh, BTW, I support legalization of marijuana and other substances because the “War On Drugs” has been a worse failure than Prohibition was, giving organized crime more power and money than if the stuff had never been made illegal.

I don’t use weed and have no use for it, personally. Tobacco is legal and likewise, I don’t use it, either.

idcydm November 1, 2013 at 7:33 pm

Gotta agree, the “War on Drugs” just like the “War on Poverty” has been a total failure.

Andre Bauer November 1, 2013 at 10:56 pm

As Jon Stewart calls it…”Smokeable Beer.”

L I'll Be November 1, 2013 at 6:14 pm

Wow! I think it is time for the interim to be removed, and the police chief part altogether……

SheRulesTheMayor November 1, 2013 at 6:38 pm

pathetic – does his boss Ms. Wilson know he talks that way?

TontoBubbaGoldstein November 1, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Santiago doesn’t seem to be the brightest crayon in the box, so TBG (who resides outside of the CPD’s jurisdiction, BTW) will take it upon himself to point out that Five Points has an ongoing violent crime problem that could be, perhaps, lessened should the CPD allocate their scarce resources to combating the violence, as opposed to targeting under-aged drinkers, drug users and folks who make blog posts that the Santiago has issues with.

Squishy123 November 1, 2013 at 7:15 pm

All of which means the Columbia City Council will unanimously vote him in as the next chief.

easterndumbfuckastan November 1, 2013 at 7:51 pm

Sypolt is the next chief. T-BoneBenji already promised him that job, for dropping out of the Strong Mayor’s race

Mike at the Beach November 2, 2013 at 2:20 am

Lots of folks are whispering about that deal, which even Benjamin has hinted about. The dude has no command experience and was serving as an analyst for the past several years, so is likely no longer a licensed police officer. He would have to attend the full academy like a rookie. Not technically a deal-breaker, but even by Columbia’s Third World standards, that would look really weird…

Thomas November 3, 2013 at 10:13 pm

You do not want federal anything running the Sheriff’s office or being the Chief of Police. What is everyone smoking to want to elect the fed’s as Sheriff (see Kershaw County) or run the CPD? Sheesh. Civil authority is just that, fed’s need not apply.

Mike at the Beach November 3, 2013 at 10:40 pm

Agreed – feds generally make horrible local chiefs or sheriffs, unless they had extensive local law enforcement experience prior to joining the big fed machine, which is very rare. Most feds have little or no law enforcement experience when hired by the USG.

shifty henry November 1, 2013 at 10:08 pm

TBG, perhaps you could choose a crayon color that best represents his personality..

TontoBubbaGoldstein November 1, 2013 at 10:31 pm

Gestapo green?

Comrade1917 November 4, 2013 at 6:59 am

Stasi green … a modern hip color.

Mike at the Beach November 2, 2013 at 12:28 pm

What?! Are you mad?! If you shift manpower from harassing college kids several bad things would happen: Ticket revenue will drop precipitously (and quickly). Beer tickets are cheap to issue, high volume, and enjoy a near 100% conviction / forfeiture rate. Further, the CPD boys (and even all of their fat females) would then have to shift to doing what the sociology world calls “market displacement” (the law enforcement world calls this “head banging”) in the remainder of Five Points. This is not only a low-revenue option, but hard-ass gang thugs tend to fight back (and shoot back) at about one kajillion times the rate of drunk USC kids. I don’t see our current CPD choosing your option. Sorry dude!

America November 4, 2013 at 10:32 am

So basically your saying that CPD wont choose the latter option, even though its their job, because it would be too hard…..Proof that CPD does the farthest thing from ‘Serve and Protect’

Mike at the Beach November 4, 2013 at 10:46 am


Gregory Geddings November 1, 2013 at 6:42 pm

This man would be a disgrace to any uniform. He should be in a mall running around making kids pull up their pants and tie their shoe laces. A bully for sure.

Paul Blart November 1, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Most mall cops would make far better policemen than actual cops.

shifty henry November 1, 2013 at 10:07 pm

Shifty is now dreaming of (you guessed it) Officer Adams, Ohio Mall Cop!

nitrat November 1, 2013 at 6:45 pm

What a nitwit.

Gregory Geddings November 1, 2013 at 6:55 pm

Nitwit? Why are you being so generous to this creep? I am fortunate enough to own an original copy of Dr. Aman’s Insult Calendar (google that!). I consulted it and found, many much more colorful words to describe this individual:

pea head, droop, tack head, cabbage head, rattlebrain, dunderhead, mamzer, pudding head, gowk, sap, hobnail, putty head, lickspittle, beetle head, dumb bunny, birdbrain, rat fink, lard head, clodhopper, BB-head, and much more.

Best one dollar I ever spent.

Ass Blow November 1, 2013 at 7:00 pm

A fucking spic chase nigger??? Sounds like a fucking cartoon!!!

Frank Pytel November 2, 2013 at 3:14 am

I don’t get the chase ref?

Ass Blow November 2, 2013 at 1:34 pm

To criminal elements trying to destroy each other… Nah…. They will will just end up working together against the “man”.

Squishy123 November 1, 2013 at 7:14 pm

More than one person who went to high school with Santiago said he was the go to guy if you wanted a nice car stereo.

jimlewisowb November 1, 2013 at 7:14 pm

Am I the only one wondering how a POS like Santiago could become a Police Chief

Welcome to the City of Columbia – Septic Tank of South Carolina where the biggest chunks rise to the Top

Mike at the Beach November 2, 2013 at 2:10 am

Much of it goes back to the bizarre, symbiotic ties between Sheriff Lott and the City, and the problems extend beyond CPD out to Solicitor’s Offices, the Criminal Justice Academy, etc. Really strange…

nitrat November 2, 2013 at 8:53 am

But, for some reason, people/voters never seem to make the connection between Leon and how badly the people from his office turn out once they get out from under his wing.

Guy Mann Dude November 5, 2013 at 9:08 am

Technically, that’s not as telling about Lott as it is them.

Sailor November 2, 2013 at 12:07 pm

After that comment OWB, if you’re driving in Columbia I would suggest you stick to the speed limit and don’t run any red lights!

William Munney November 2, 2013 at 3:55 pm

If he didn’t run red lights he’d stand out like a sore thumb in Columbia

Casual Observer November 1, 2013 at 8:07 pm

could I point out that Randy Scott, Ruben Santiago & Navarro all came from Richland County Sheriff’s department. Not that Columbia didn’t have it’s own issues, but those were being worked out.

Peace, love, & harmony November 1, 2013 at 8:35 pm

Ruben “Ching Chong Ding-a-ling long” Santiago is just pissed that he looks Asian but has a Hispanic name. He was picked on all through school and got the job of his dreams afterward, being able to pick on anyone anytime with no fear of retribution so he can start working off that chip on his shoulder.

It confuses the black people in Columbia. They don’t know whether to hate him for being Hispanic or like him because they can order #23(fried rice, wings & a gram) from him if they simply drop a dime on someone residing on his or T-bone’s black list.(which coincidentally doesn’t have any blacks on it)

shifty henry November 1, 2013 at 10:35 pm

Hah! Sort of confusing just like the following—-

A visitor to a boys military academy asked one of the students, “And just how old are you, sonny?”

The boy answered, “That’s hard to say, sir. According to my latest school tests, I have a psychological age of 11 and a moral age of 10. Anatomically, I’m 7, and mentally I’m 9. But if you refer to my chronological age, that’s 8 – but nobody pays any attention to that these days!”

nitrat November 2, 2013 at 8:55 am

Is he Filipino?

Squishy123 November 2, 2013 at 10:26 am

Careful, that comment will just piss him off and he’ll come looking for you.

xx November 1, 2013 at 8:51 pm

The CPD is stupid and lazy. I know b/c I’ve dealt w/ them.

TontoBubbaGoldstein November 1, 2013 at 10:39 pm Reply
Elfego November 1, 2013 at 9:23 pm

He needs all of his time to politic!

Smirks November 1, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Thuggery at the top of CPD is going to breed thuggery throughout the force. What a shame.

Just more reason to rely on your own means of self defense.

E Norma Scok November 1, 2013 at 10:41 pm

I thought the title was “Another reason to hate Columbia”, and I failed to read any further. Who needs another reason?

The Colonel November 2, 2013 at 8:02 am

I-77 and I-20 work in both directions

Squishy123 November 2, 2013 at 10:28 am

Yet the rats stay home near the septic tank.

Norma Scok November 3, 2013 at 11:17 pm

And thank God I don’t have to use either one. The best part of Columbia is watching it get smaller in my rear view as I drive away from it.

The Colonel November 4, 2013 at 3:25 am

And you wonder why we’re smiling when we wave good bye

Quick November 1, 2013 at 10:53 pm

I will have to say that I agree with what Santiago’s comments. But, what an ass to go online and say what he said. To be in his position he would know by now what to say and what ot to say especially on Facebook for the whole world to see. I hate to say it but the city really needs to cut their losses and get a new chief quick.

Frank Pytel November 2, 2013 at 3:11 am

No no, please continue Mr. santiagp. I would much prefer hearing your treasonous thought process. …..Enemies closer.

Squishy123 November 2, 2013 at 10:27 am

He was probably just drunk at the time. Why should he be any different than any chief before him.

anon. November 1, 2013 at 10:53 pm

There was no mention of the offender with eight pounds of Marijuana (worth $40,000 in what world?) having a firearm. We all know that the “gang bangers” carry guns and aren’t afraid of using them (just ask the USC student who was recently shot in 5 Points.) Which is the safer criminal to confront? The Police in Columbia are armed in a similar fashon as our troops serving abroad (semi auto handguns, M4 AR-15s and shotguns along with body armor and Urban Assault Vehicles) yet they seem redicent to go after the punks who have taken over 5 Points. I respect the street cop, but we know where he gets his orders. The Italians have a saying that fits Coulumbia’s Thought Police…”The Fish Stinks From The Head!”

Colamity SC November 1, 2013 at 11:25 pm

Time for Shandon, Heathwood, Wales Garden, Rose Hill, the VA area, the Vista, and USC to petition for annexation to Cayce or secede from Columbia? Columbia may be the home of the Gamecocks but its leaders are completely Clembarrassing

Homer Simpson November 2, 2013 at 7:23 am

OMG! Being a part of Cayce would NOT be an improvement. Cayce Public Safety is just as corrupt as Columbia PD. You just don’t hear as much about it because it’s a smaller city. They have their “black ops” too and use them regularly.

Annoyed with "Adults" November 7, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Really? using your clemson vs. carolina reference has led me to believe that you are just as ignorant as Sir Santiago himself. congrats, and perhaps be more of an adult when you comment on these types of things. Again, the football reference was highly immature and unnecessary. And i am not even a fan of either team. I just can’t believe you would lower yourself to comments that lack intelligence to such an extreme.

Destroy Lawless Rogues November 2, 2013 at 1:36 am

He won’t be around long. He has given us clear indication tthat he is just another lawless rogue who will set himself up to do federal time. And we know he will visit to read the comments. So with that said, the people will clean your clock of every penny to your name, Santiago. Lawyers are already talking about it.

CorruptionInColumbia November 2, 2013 at 8:01 am

I wish he would get time but doubt that such will ever happen. You forget, he is a member in good standing of the Lott Family. The Patriarch, Leon, takes care of his boys.

Look what he did for Scott after he disgraced the office of Chief and CPD. Leon hired him and the strong rumor is that, get a load of this, Randy’s new job is to teach ETHICS to the troops. I haven’t confirmed that but if anyone can it is good for a simultaneous belly laugh and groan.

shifty henry November 2, 2013 at 9:14 am

Did Scott repay the retirement fund “loan” to the City of Columbia?

Mike at the Beach November 2, 2013 at 2:07 am

Assuming that Santiago made these comments…what a fucking buffoon! I’m not even on the Libertarian dope legalization train, but what an ill-advised and monumentally stupid statement for Santiago to make (publicly or otherwise). Threatening to “find” someone for expressing political opinion? Wow. There’s so much fail in that stupid comment, one doesn’t know where to begin. For starters, though, maybe this idiot should break out his notes from his most recent legals training – political dissent (even comments directed against drug enforcement prioritization) are most assuredly NOT reasonable suspicion in any way indicating that the commentator is “involved” in criminal activity. There’s a legal term for that – it’s referred to as freedom of expression (one of the key legal tenets upon which this country is based, of course). Threatening people with criminal investigation is what banana republics (and evidently Columbia, SC) do. In any real police organization Santiago would be gone after making such a threat. PS – It’s great to know that CPD has located and “arrested ALL of the violent offenders in Five Points.” Who knew?

BrigidBernadette November 2, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Especially as the next article when I first read it on WIS was that three of the four armed robbers from last weekend in Five Points were still on the loose. They should change the name of the CPD to Tonton Macoutes. Papa Doc Benji is only just starting with his agenda for Columbia. All the more reason to vote against Benji in Tuesday’s council and Mayoral election. A vote for Benji is a vote for Santiago. And that traitor Sypolt.

Mike at the Beach November 2, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Awesome Haiti reference (I especially like “Papa Doc Benji,” that’s awesomeness), but there is one major difference between them and our fiends at Columbia PD. As evil, murderous, and sadistic as the Tonton Macoute was, they were also pretty badass. If there were problems in an area prompting a response from the Macoutes, the “problems” were usually found hanging from a street sign by the next morning (if the corpse hadn’t been hacked up with a machete or stoned to the point that it couldn’t dangle from the rope). Lots of words come to mind when one thinks of CPD, but “badass” isn’t one of them.

Are we better off then 4 years November 2, 2013 at 8:35 am

Columbia is falling apart at the seams – crime is up, and cronyism is out of control. Yet, Steve Benjamin will be reelected in a landslide. It makes me want to puke!

M326 November 2, 2013 at 9:18 am

I can’t believe that people in positions like Ruben Santiago and Curtis Loftis, State Treasurer, spend valuable time that could be spent on their jobs writing messages on Facebook. Let’s hope, if they continue to engage in such foolish behavior, that they do not do it on the taxpayer’s time.

King-tut November 2, 2013 at 11:26 am

I dont understand the infatuation the citizens and some delusional politicians have with Leon “little man” Lott. I guess being nationally ranked 5th in violent crime is something to be proud of.

Soft Sigh from Hell November 2, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Dear God! Can we not ever be rid of this worthless character?

Ralph Hightower November 2, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Don’t forget to mention that Chief Santiago actually has no control over the City Police Department.
Columbia City Manager, Teresa Wilson, is the person that actually manages and controls the Columbia Police Department.
Santiago is just a figurehead.

Ass Blow November 2, 2013 at 10:04 pm

Why did the white guy go to the black guy’s yard sale?
To get his stuff back.

shifty henry November 3, 2013 at 8:21 am

Heard about the black guy who converted to Judaism and started a synagogue in Charleston? It’s called Temple -Beth -You – Is – My – Woman – Now.

Corrupti Government November 2, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Sounds like Dave Navarro was telling the truth. Ruben should be arrested and tried for treason for applying Nazi tactics to the constitution.

euwe max November 3, 2013 at 1:11 am

I support the blue men.

Andre Bauer November 3, 2013 at 1:17 am

This guy looks like a Bond Villan!

shifty henry November 3, 2013 at 4:34 pm


shifty henry November 3, 2013 at 8:09 am

Shifty is waiting for the photos of the best Halloween pumpkins that resemble Ruben……

Gregory Geddings November 4, 2013 at 7:11 am

Working on a photoshop piece featuring Ruben. He sure looks like Curly Howard…

oh no November 3, 2013 at 6:46 pm

It just takes a little time in law enforcement and the limited study of criminal law to understand what reasonable suspicion of a crime means, just give Santiago some time and he’ll realize how wrongheaded and incorrect his statements were.

Oh wait, he’s a cop? And the interim head of police!?! oh nuts, hope the hand basket for this city’s ride to hell is padded and comfy.

Dan November 4, 2013 at 8:51 am

Teresa Wilson, city manager, went to law school so perhaps she could give Santiago a lesson on reasonable suspicion.

Oh wait, except she couldn’t pass the bar and went to be a school teacher before she started sleeping her way to the top. Never mind.

scotty November 4, 2013 at 11:00 am

It was great to read that cue bald sandiago is on the job even at home. Could he be any dumber probably but to let some unknown crap on a social network force him in to his Sherlock Holmes attitude was great comedy. T bone can pass this off as his highly skilled caring city manager is cue balds boss. City hall is becoming to look and sound like the Oval office.

Columbia's True Finest November 5, 2013 at 3:06 pm

If you’re a Gamecock fan, take note next time you leave Columbia, of the difference in ease in interchanges policed by State Highway Patrol vs. City of Columbia. These fools can’t even direct traffic well in their own city, how do expect actual law enforcement to be different?

jimheffner November 5, 2013 at 4:00 pm

This situation covers two of my favorite subjects; the abuse of authority and the end of Cannabis prohibition. These two have a common thread; there never should be an abuse of authority and Cannabis never should have been banned.

and it harm none, do as you will

Fuck You November 5, 2013 at 5:08 pm

this is a dumb article

shifty henry November 6, 2013 at 9:53 am

Congratulations, Rube, now you have made the national and international news. So much for promoting Columbia as a city of warmth and with intelligent leadership…..

Slade W. November 6, 2013 at 11:53 pm

Eh, over $40,000 dollars in narcotics tends to mean intent to distribute which can lead to violent crime. You people need to take those “don’t tread on me” flags outta your asses for 5 seconds and look at this from an unbiased point of view. You can bitch and moan all you fucking want about how “unfair” the laws are towards marijuana and other drugs, but the FACT is, its an illegal substance at the moment. Deal with it. I agree they are focusing on the wrong issues, I agree about the harassment of students in 5pts, but they aren’t in the wrong here, in this particular case. If you enjoy illegal drugs, good for you, but you cant bitch when the 5-O harass you. Sorry, thats not how it works.


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