South Carolina Criminal Procedures – 5 Points’ Night Life and Criminal Activity
Reports from 5 Points patrons and business owners say that crime in 5 Points – a popular nightlife destination in Columbia, SC – is up. According to police statistics, however, crime is actually down 14%, thanks to South Carolina criminal procedures.
Patrons and police, however, seem to disagree about the cause of the violent crimes.
Questions are being raised after several violent crimes occurred in one evening.
A rash of violence crimes broke out over the weekend of September 23rd, after a successful USC football game. Two separate, violent attacks took place that evening – one at 1 AM, and another shortly thereafter, around 2 AM. According to police reports, two friends bumped into “two unknown, black males” and had a verbal altercation with them that led to one of the victims being punched in the face after he tried to walk away. More male suspects joined the group, and the victim sustained severe injuries to his face, as well as a broken arm. He was hospitalized for treatment.
The second incident was similar, but has become more publicized. The male victim, Josh Bosworth, had a verbal altercation that incited “several, unknown black males” to kick and punch the victim, who was later hospitalized. He was kicked in the head and chest area, had lacerations on his face, and damage to his mouth and jaw. The attack against Bosworth was caught on a cell phone camera.
That same weekend, there was also a random shooting.
Police Protection – Against DUI?
South Carolina Criminal Procedures might be misdirected
Police blamed the crimes on the drunk crowd, and said they would focus efforts on preventing underage drinking and DUI. Police Chief Randy Scott announced that, for the next weekend’s game, he would be “extra aggressive,” with the force cracking down particularly on underage drinkers. Almost as an afterthought, he added “that groups of people who just seem to hang out on the corner with no intention of going to a business will get a visit from his officers.”
Police reports from the first weekend in October focused primarily on one felony DUI – 29-year-old James Green IV crashed into a car late on Saturday night, causing serious injury to one of his passengers, although Green himself was fine. He was charged with resisting arrest, assault, breaking open container laws, and public urination.
40 other arrests were made, according to South Carolina criminal procedures. Chief Scott pledged that 5 Points would be more well-guarded this past weekend, and 50 officers patrolled the 5 Points area alone, to help keep violence down. According to the released report, they successfully kept violent crime down in the area over the weekend.
Patrons of 5 Points, as well as business owners, remain concerned. Some in particular are disturbed by the police chief’s focus on drinking, rather than gang or mob violence.
South Carolina Criminal Procedures Criticized Nationally
Colin Flaherty, an op-ed columnist for World Net Daily,blames racial violence – black kids beating up white kids – for the “failure” of South Carolina criminal procedures in Columbia, SC. He blames Chief Scott for not reporting the incidents as racially-motivated, and quotes a former bar owner, Scott Linaberry, on the misplacement of officials’ attention. Linaberry told Flaherty: “Why does the city permit the harassment of white college kids in the bar, under the guise of underage drinking (they have to interrupt about 50 people to find one underage, but they’d have everyone believe they bat 1,000) but not black thugs on the street via a posted curfew ordinance who have no intention of ever being a customer of Five points. Civil Rights for ALL??”
Despite Flaherty’s criticism of South Carolina criminal procedures, most Columbia residents are not concerned with the race of the attackers so much as the fact that violent crimes happen, without proper police protection, in a very popular nightlife destination for the college town. Students at USC started a Facebook group, “Fight Back for 5points,” which boasts nearly 7,000 members in 2 weeks. Several comments on the group’s page describe beatings and muggings that occurred in the area, as well as frustration with police officers for focusing on underage drinking and DUI, rather than actual violent crime.
Five Points Association Executive Director Merritt McHaffie says that, despite spending thousands of dollars on security cameras and call boxes, there’s a great deal of work left to do. She looks forward to sitting down with business owners and the police to discuss real solutions to the problem.
“We just want to get around the table,” said McHaffie. “Look at each other in the eye and say something has to be done and we have to take it seriously.” She added, however, “I think crime is everywhere, people are more aware of it in Five Points because there are more people here and because we have an eye on it.”
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with South Carolina Criminal Procedures
While violent crimes in 5 Points dropped this past weekend, long-term results remain to be seen. Residents of Columbia remain both hopeful and skeptical that a solution can be found with South Carolina criminal procedures currently, so they can once again enjoy the hospitality of the city’s nightlife destination.
If you have been charged with a violent crime or assault, you could face a harsh sentence. The attorneys at Strom Law, LLC can help with criminal charges in Columbia, and can help USC students with arrests or charges. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case. 803.252.4800.