Pro-Pot Facebook Rant receives Arrest Threat by SC Police Chief

Yesterday a police chief in South Carolina thoughtfully reminded us of what police think of us and our “rights” and our “viewpoints.”

It began with Columbia, South Carolina Police Department’s Interim Chief Ruben Santiago boasting of a marijuana arrest on Facebook:


Interim Police Chief Ruben Santiago announces the arrest of a man accused of having approximately $40K of marijuana inside a Columbia apartment.

Demon weed, off the street!1 The War on Drugs triumphant!

Not everybody on Facebook was a fan. Chief Santiago pushed right back against criticism:

Via PopeHat


That comment brought this Response from the Interim Police Chief of Columbia, South Carolina:


So South Carolina interim police chief Santiago thinks its OK to develop reasonable cause because someone expressed their view on crime priorities?  Yea sure, “reasonable suspicion to believe you might be a criminal” 

Constitutional attorney Todd Kincannon chimed in:


Seems the Chief thought through his post on Facebook and abruptly removed his comment


The Columbia PD  public information officer Jennifer Timmons confirmed that  interim police chief Santiago was the author of the post and said that Santiago’s point was misunderstood.

“Chief was trying to say that he puts would-be-criminals on notice — if you commit a crime or plan to commit one, CPD will work hard to investigate and press charges according to the law,” said department spokeswoman Jennifer Timmons. “It’s easy for social media posts to be misunderstood. The man who was so-called threatened openly admitted that he was not offended and appreciated the work of CPD.”

Via Raw Story

This from WIS TV:

A Facebook post authored by Columbia’s interim police chief in response to a man’s opinion Thursday night has gotten a fair amount of attention on social media Friday.

Interim Police Chief Ruben Santiago said his postings were not meant to be threatening in any way.

The Columbia Police regularly posts press releases on Facebook announcing arrests or seeking information on wanted suspects. A post announcing the arrest of a 25-year-old Columbia man for possessing approximately $40k in marijuana has sparked a firestorm of comments, but not necessarily because of the subject-matter of the news release.

Santiago apparently took offense to one commenter’s opinion.

“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 illegal here one day anyway,” wrote Facebook user Brandon Whitmer.

Not long after the post, a response from the Columbia Police Department was directed to Whitmer.

“@ Brandon whitmer, we have arrested all of the violent offenders in Five points. Thank you for sharing your views and giving us reasonable suspicion to believe you might be a criminal, we will work on finding you.”

The Columbia Police Department post, which was eventually deleted, ignited dozens of comments from users who objected to the threatening nature of the official response.

And Finally from the State Newspaper

“I deleted that post because I thought it was best to do that until I got a better understanding of what he was trying to say and to set the record straight,” she said.

Santiago’s second response was posted after he and Timmons spoke on the phone:

“This is Interim Chief Santiago posting, I was just notified that one of my staff members deleted my 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 you MIGHT also be involved in that particular activity, threat? Why would someone feel threaten (sic) if you are not doing anything wrong? Apply this same concept to gang activity or gang members. You can have gang tattoos and advocate that life style, but that only makes me suspicious of them, I can’t do anything until they commit a crime. So feel free to express yourself, and I will continue to express myself and what we stand for. I am always open to hearing how our citizens feel like we can be effective in fighting all crime.”

Friday afternoon, Santiago said he has learned a hard lesson on social media posts: It’s easy for them to be misunderstood, and he will think twice about future comments. He and Timmons manage the page.

Well, we hope Santiago learned a hard lesson… Leave Public relations to the experts.. or we will be doing this all again!

About Albert N. Milliron 6991 Articles
Albert Milliron is the founder of Politisite. Milliron has been credentialed by most major news networks for Presidential debates and major Political Parties for political event coverage. Albert maintains relationships with the White House and State Department to provide direct reporting from the Administration’s Press team. Albert is the former Public Relations Chairman of the Columbia County Republican Party in Georgia. He is a former Delegate. Milliron is a veteran of the US Army Medical Department and worked for Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Psychiatry.

1 Comment

  1. Isn’t it interesting how the corrupt – or simple-minded, whichever the case may be – will say something like, “I’m going to kill your dog.” Then when they’re caught, they say, “Oh, wait, you misunderstood me. No no, it’s not that I’m going to kill your dog. Sorry you took it that way. No, I meant that if I were to kill your dog, well . . . see, now, uh, that would be a bad thing.”

    It’s amazing how the corrupt – or simple-minded, whichever the case may be – will expect such a ridiculous shell-game tactic would be believed by anyone.