Facebook Commenter Criticizes Cops, Cops Threaten To Come Find Him

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When a South Carolina man criticized his local police department on Facebook for rounding up drug offenders rather than using resources to better prevent violent crime, the police chief threatened to hunt him down and arrest him for giving reasonable suspicion that he might be a criminal.

In a recent Facebook post the Columbia Police Department Interim Police Chief Ruben Santiago announced that the department had seized around $40,000 worth of marijuana from an apartment during a drug investigation.

Resident Brandon Whitmer commented on the post, saying: “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.”

Santiago promptly responded via the CPD Facebook page: “@Brandon whitmer, we have arrested all 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 post was quickly deleted and Santiago replaced it with another comment. But, the tone of the new post was less “sorry, it’s not right to threaten critics” and more “if you criticize the police and advocate marijuana reform, you may be a criminal.”

The new comment read: “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 that you MIGHT also be involved in that particular activity, threat? [sic] Why would someone feel threaten [sic] if you are not doing anything wrong? Apply the 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 crime.”

In an unrelated incident, Santiago recently filed a defamation suit against a former Columbia police captain who said Santiago the chief was planning to plant drugs in the car of a top city official.

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  • ThomasThePaine

    This phony war on drugs, is nothing but a real war on the Constitution!

  • Salad

    Agreed. Marijuana was legal in the last century. It’s just another form of prohibition. It’s finally being recognized once again for it’s many industrial and pharmaceutical uses (much less harmful than many standard pharmaceuticals).

  • gswifty

    This is a non-issue. If you want to highlight and write about people who are representing contrarian viewpoints and who are being harassed by tptb, than this is not a good example to use. I’m an advocate for the legalization of marijuana, and the unjust laws that abound within the criminal justice system regarding non-violent drug offenders should be rectified/abolished BUT….I can not strongly disagree with this chiefs statement here. Not all cops are the despicable and rabid brown-shirts that you make them out to be. Matter of fact, when the [expletive deleted] hits the fan, I’ll be counting on many law enforcement professionals to stand down. Unless your motive is to rile them up so they feel compelled to ‘pick a side’ on such a trivial matter as a facebook post. then mission accomplished. Please feel free to prove me wrong and I will acquiesce.

  • gswifty

    This is a non-issue. If you want to highlight and write about people who are representing contrarian viewpoints and who are being harassed by tptb, than this is not a good example to use. I’m an advocate for the legalization of marijuana, and the unjust laws that abound within the criminal justice system regarding non-violent drug offenders should be rectified/abolished BUT….I can not strongly disagree with this chiefs statement here. Not all cops are the despicable and rabid brown-shirts that you make them out to be. Matter of fact, when the [expletive deleted] hits the fan, I’ll be counting on many law enforcement professionals to stand down. Unless your motive is to rile them up so they feel compelled to ‘pick a side’ on such a trivial matter as a facebook post. then mission accomplished. Please feel free to prove me wrong and I will acquiesce.

  • Alan

    So criticism has now become “reasonable suspicion”? What’s next? Will driving a sporty car or dressing a certain way also be considered “reasonable suspicion” that one was speeding or gang-banging? And to think that this chief actually had the audacity to threaten someone for voicing their opinion is beyond belief. Folks, we have arrived at the crossroads where the signpost up ahead does indeed read “The Twilight Zone”. We’re slipping into insanity.

    • Robert Messmer

      Yes they already do.

    • paendragon

      YEAH! “Only criminals oppose our fascist storm-trooper tactics!Whee!”

  • mark

    More Red State police abuse. In these conservative sections of the country there is zero control whatsoever over abusive, arrogant, fascist police. Texas is even worse. Read this one about the police there locking up a man in jail for overdue library books. I kid you not.

    http://www.newser.com/story/176880/guy-jailed-for-overdue-library-book.html

    • TheOriginalDaveH

      3 more days, mark. We will miss you. Not.

    • jibbs3

      Yawn.

    • paendragon

      ALL fascists are leftists. Conservatives are all for individual human rights and responsibilities, while leftists – like all criminals – want rights (like, to your stuff) without any responsibilities (like having to earn or pay for it).

      And immoral relativism is what they’re all about! Their favorite critical-thinking logical fallacy is the slanderous Argumentum Tu Quoque, aka: “Crime isn’t crime and islam isn’t evil because we (i.e: you) all do it, too! Whee!” Having no factual reasons which will ever support their backwards, victim-blaming excuses, they must resort to fallacies (funny how those of us with facts, rarely if ever feel the need to resort to using fallacies, eh?)

      The only real crime, to liberals, is to accuse a fellow criminal of committing a crime, to try to hold them personally accountable for self-reliant responsibility and culpability; to them, it’s all a case of diluting their own guilt with group-might-makes-right, to pretend nobody’s evil because we’re all forced into it, that we’re all really only helpless victims (of society, products of our environment, or slaves of allah) so they can claim “I didn’t do it – the group/allah made me do it!” and “In fact, I didn’t do it at all! ONLY The Group did it!”

      As Ben Franklin once noted, those who are good at making excuses, are rarely good for anything else. (Which description pretty-much defines Obama, no? i.e: “It’s Because I’m Black, Isn’t It?”)!

      ;-(

  • Bruce Skinner

    Wow, that’s a rather nasty threat to someone for expressing their opinion, sounds like the chief needs to take a time out in the corner.

  • Robert Huddleston

    The City of Columbia, SC is fortunate to have a Chief of Police who is not concerned with Political Correctness towards criminals, instead it appears he’s more concerned with fighting illegal criminal activity in his city. Marihuana is a gateway drug which leads to other more dangerous drugs, and is a cause for more violent crime and more property crime. Chief Santiago is showing leadership to his agency.

    • TheOriginalDaveH

      Robert says — “Marihuana is a gateway drug which leads to other more dangerous drugs”.
      That’s a myth, Robert, promoted by those who profit from the drug wars.
      “Drug warriors claim marijuana is a “gateway” drug because 90+% of heroin addicts started with marijuana. So? 99.99% of heroin addicts brushed their teeth as teenagers. Do we outlaw the brushing of teeth because it causes heroin addiction? Study the ratio the other way. What percentage of marijuana users end up addicted to heroin? A very tiny fraction, and those would have ended up addicted to something even without the intermediate step of marijuana”.
      http://archive.mises.org/10434/dont-regulate-video-game-violence/
      http://www.theweedblog.com/debunking-the-marijuana-is-a-gateway-drug-theory/
      “As noted in this NY Times article by Adam Nagourney and Rick Lyman, people use marijuana as a substitute for alcohol—a good choice, since marijuana is not so harmful as alcohol and is also less addictive than alcohol. Instead of being a “gateway drug” that leads to greater drug use, marijuana turns out to be an exit drug that leads people away from alcohol—and so far as statistics show, the true “gateway drug” is alcohol”.
      https://leisureguy.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/marijuana-turns-out-to-be-an-exit-drug-not-a-gateway-drug/
      Those who are curious should review this chart of 2010 causes of death:
      http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/Causes_of_Death#sthash.fcjbVVOz.dpbs
      Note that alcohol-related deaths are half-again higher than deaths from illicit drugs, and that deaths attributed to marijuana are zero.
      Also check out the number of deaths caused by paramilitary police raids on households:
      http://www.cato.org/raidmap
      Drug War Victims:
      http://www.drugwarrant.com/articles/drug-war-victim/

      • Bob666

        Yo Dave,

        Very well stated from start to finish. Most law enforcement officers that I have talked to believe that marijuana should be legalized and those resources used toward marijuana should be used on the vast amount of drugs that are a real threat to society.

        The medical benefits of marijuana have been well established and it is a natural product that has been proven to have minimal side effects. My first wife died cancer and her oncologist recommended marijuana to help relax her and develop an appetite. I saw her condition & quality of life improve 100% when she started using it in the last six months of her life. I would even speculate that she might have lived another three to five months had she started using it a year earlier.

        You may not realize this, but many engineers are pot heads and unfortunately I have had to fire a few because they failed mandatory drug testing that is required by our worker compensation provider.

        I always had an ethical conflict doing this, but in the construction industry-you can’t find workers comp providers who will not require drug testing for coverage.

        As I said, it was a very good post.

        • lakeside227

          Something to consider, besides the medical benefits of marijuana, is the REASON it was ‘made’ illegal in the first place. DuPont & Hearst set out on a campaign to demonize hemp for MONEY reasons – to protect their businesses. Pharmaceutical and alcohol industries jumped on the bandwagon for the same reasons – MONEY. Check out civil asset forfeiture – this brings in MILLIONS of dollars to police departments. A person doesn’t even have to be CHARGED with a crime to be FORCED to give up money or property – they are often THREATENED with prosecution and ‘give up’ their property to stay out of jail.

          Not to mention the roadside BODY CAVITY searches done on people because a cop SAYS HE SMELLED marijuana.

          Completely OUTRAGEOUS what our government has done in the ‘war on drugs.’ A ‘war’ which hasn’t helped our society AT ALL!

          The federal government has NO CONSTITUTIONAL authority to DECLARE a PLANT illegal. The FDA is an unconstitutional federal department imposing unconstitutional ‘laws’ on the public. Just ONE of the numerous unconstitutional federal departments/agencies, imposing unconstitutional ‘laws’ on us.

          • Robert Messmer

            Actually no. Marijuana was first made illegal around 1914 in San Antonio. Could be wrong on place but not because of any campaign by Dupont. It was because of the Mexican refuges that had crossed the border escaping from one of the revolutions down there. It was done out of “racism”, because the “dirty Mexicans” were always relaxing by getting high. Then by 1927 it was pretty much illegal everywhere.

          • lakeside227

            States had laws, I specifically said the FEDERAL government has no authority. States DO have the authority.

            The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. Look it up. DuPont, Hearst, Mellon, and Anslinger.

          • Robert Messmer

            Ok sorry didn’t realize your use of Federal Government three paragraphs later was is reference to Dupont. However, when I looked up the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 what I found said it did not make it illegal, it simply imposed a tax on it. Actually it seems to have placed a tax on doctors who prescribed it, pharmacists who sold it, and those who grew it.

            I agree that the War of Drugs should never have been declared. I think that the way Portugal went is something that we should have done decades ago, maybe even getting around to the idea that citizens should be allowed to make their own decisions.

          • lakeside227

            I could have been more clear that I was referring to the federal government at the beginning of my comment, my bad. :)

            Yes, it did tax it. There was also the Uniform State Narcotic Act 1932; Federal Bureau of Narcotics 1930; the Bogg Act & Narcotics Control Act in 52 & 56; then marijuana was completely MISCLASSIFIED as a schedule 1 drug in 1970.

            Citizens allowed to make their own decisions??? Shut your mouth… ;)

      • Robert Huddleston

        You know your really good at looking up facts and figures from internet websites, and I’m sure since you are so well acquainted with the subject and such an ardent defender of drug use, one can only perceive that you are a user. However, what you fail to see is the lives, the broken homes, the trashed out homes, the thefts (everything from shoplifting to Robbery) all because of drug use. There are those in our society who continuously keep watch over the selfish scum who would victimize innocent people just so they can get a fix, a rock, or a high. And so, The Original Dave H, since you abdicate pro-drug use and you believe I’m only spouting a myth, then one can only believe that you are probably a predator, too. Have a nice day.

        • TheOriginalDaveH

          Dream on, Robert. I am a teetotaler, and always have been. I’m just smarter than you are, so I know that drug prohibition doesn’t work any better than alcohol prohibition worked. Leaders like the Drug Wars because it gives them more Power and us less Freedom — a goal Leaders always strive for. And fools like yourself enable them.
          The theft to which you refer is mostly a result of the high drug prices which are a result of the drug prohibition. And those high prices enrich the worst segment of society. Money is Power and the last people we want to have more Power are the Drug Lords.
          Speaking of broken homes, how about this one:

          or this one:

          You ought to educate yourself, so as not to look so much like a fool, Robert:
          http://library.mises.org/books/Mark%20Thornton/Economics%20of%20Prohibition.pdf

          • Robert Huddleston

            Well Dave, if you’re a tee-totaler as you say you are, I’m surprised that you encourage and argue for illegal behavior. I can only perceive you have never been a victim or had to deal with the ramifications of the drug culture, and I hope you never do…by the way, this discussion was about a Chief of Police calling people who write online their favorable opinions on drug use…I’m inclined to agree with the Chief…let the facts be are be what they are.

          • TheOriginalDaveH

            I’m not arguing for illegal behavior, Robert. I’m arguing for abolishing ignorant laws which just exacerbate our problems, Grow Government ever larger, and take away our Freedoms.
            In fact, Robert, when I grew up I was oblivious about drug use until the Government started their Drug Wars and popularized the use among the rebellious youth.
            I’m betting, Robert, that you haven’t/won’t read any of the articles that I posted links to, because your kind are typically afraid to study and think.

          • jibbs3

            Robert Huddleston goes silent.

          • Robert Huddleston

            Oh contrair!! Jibbs, Dave, Mesmer, and especially Timbo…I can see that you would all just hope I would go away! If you think I would concede that easily, just because you only know how to lace your argument with off-hand name calling. But let’s get down where the rubber meets the road. I’m going to guess that all of you who have stooped to the level of attacking my character, are either Democrats, or non voter. According to your argument whether you are for marijuana or harder drug, you are for the Dumbing-Down of American society. You see, so as man thinks, so is he; and if you are for the legalization of any drug, then you are for the liberal and the. Democrats using a method to numb the minds of not only our youth, but also the older generation. The Democrats, along with other Progressive Republicans would like nothing better than to numb the minds of the Ametican people in order to slide in legislation that any good honest hard working American wouldn’t go for. So go ahead with your assumptions of who and what I am. The legalization of marijuana negates the accountability of people to a better, higher moral standard, and that is exactly how politicians are usurping the Constitution.

          • Gruber Williams

            It looks to me that you are the one assuming by your assumption that we are all liberals or democrats if we support the legalization of marijuana. This could not be further from the truth, for one, I am a Libertarian. The war on drugs is a complete failure here in California, just for irradication of marijuana here in the northern part of the state, untold millions of dollars are spent. Most of the pot farms there are legal consortium grows and if it were not for the guerilla farmers (mostly undocumented Mexicans) working for the cartel, there would not be a need for marijuana irradication here. How much is spent on law enforcement riding around playing war games in helicopters armed to the hilt? Your guess is as good as mine. Sorry for calling you a pansy though. Lol

          • Robert Huddleston

            Thank you for the apology Timbo, there is no need to make remarks that are hurtful, when there is no need. But I disagree with your analysis, because in Texas we are actually helping California with their drug problem. Californians come thru Texas transporting illegal drugs, such as marijuana; Californians are arrested, booked in and charged. You see, the States can work together…God bless Texas!!

          • Robert Messmer

            So how do you square that with all the states that have legalized marijuana use for medical purposes?

          • Gruber Williams

            Its clear to see that you have certainly never been a victim or had to deal with the ramifications of the drug culture. How could you if your afraid to go outside and have the street smarts of pee wee herman. What a pansy!

          • Gruber Williams

            Its clear to see that you have certainly never been a victim or had to deal with the ramifications of the drug culture. How could you if your afraid to go outside and have the street smarts of pee wee herman. What a pansy!

          • Robert Huddleston

            Careful Timbo, don’t make an Assumption that you have no idea what you talking about; I certainly hope you know what Assume does spell? I wouldn’t want you to embarrass yourself in a public forum.

          • Thomas Johnson

            It seems by the down arrows your comments are receiving Mr Huddleston, that Timbo isn’t the party embarrassing himself…

        • Average_Joe56

          I see that you have many opinions Robert…do you have any facts or evidence to support your ignorant rants…..or do you just feel the need to look and sound like a complete idiot?
          Facts matter to us…your opinion…not so much….
          You sound like you may have at least a first grade education….and I am being generous with my assessment of your intelligence.
          Save the rambling BS for your friends they need the humor factor…for putting up with your stupidity……
          We prefer the facts and only the facts. Got any? Verifiable?
          Put up…or shut up.

          • Robert Huddleston

            And what are your facts, Joe?

          • Robert Huddleston

            And what are your facts, Joe?

          • Robert Huddleston

            And what are your facts, Joe?

        • Robert Messmer

          Check out Portugal. They decriminalized all drugs and found that those problems on the whole went away since people could get the drugs legally without having to consort with dangerous criminals. You could also do a little local history–check out what alcohol prohibition did to this country.

          TheOriginalDaveH did not advocate pro-drug use, he simply pointed out that the myth you believe in is not supported by facts. If anything I would say he is advocating that we actually abide by the Declaration and allow citizens their “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” they desire. Not the happiness prescribed for them by big government since it knows better what is good for you than you do.

        • Gruber Williams

          What you are spouting is misinformed horse crap, your talking hard drugs Dave is talking marijuana. Why don’t you look up a few facts rather than blindly say that marijuana is causing violent crime. Alcohol alone is a factor in 80 percent of violent crimes, if you drink I could just say that you support violent crime then?

    • Libertarian58

      Looks like you’ve been very well trained. . .

    • jibbs3

      Indoctrinated idiot!

    • jibbs3

      Indoctrinated idiot!

      • Robert Huddleston

        Hey, didn’t I see your picture during the Occupy Wall Street Movement?! Oh yeah, sorry, you must’ve been wearing the Guy Fawkes mask!

    • Robert Messmer

      Not according to DEA. DEA has wacky tobaccy listed as a Class 1 drug and cocaine as a Class 3 drug which would mean cocaine use leads to use of marijuana. By the Interim Chief’s reasoning every defense attorney in Columbia should be arrested for “aiding and abetting” and “facilitating” criminal actions. Gateway drug….sounds like you actually believe the “Reefer Madness” movie. Nicotine, alcohol and prescription drugs lead more people to “more dangerous drugs” than marijuana. By the way, the citizen exercising his right to freedom of speech is in no way a criminal so the IC’s threat to “find him” (and then what, kill him?) is not fighting illegal criminal activity.

      • Deerinwater

        Correct, accurate and glad that you stated it as so.~ Someone needed too.

        It would seems that the Caroline’s are “blessed or cursed” with very reactionary people that don’t think much farther them the end of their nose.

        One needs to pick and choose their battles or you will be fighting with everyone.

        This police chief is not displaying sound thinking and little doubt many will suffer for it.

        The thing is , enough citizens voted for him to place him in office as many Carolinian’s like this sort of thinking and employ it themselves.

        They “feel their way” about ~ what ‘offends” gets the most attention, rushing blindly into places angels fear to tread.

  • Max

    So many police chifs and police are so crooked and they love killing people and Dogs you dont have to do any thing wrong anymore they will make up something to put you in jail they are crooks and need to be in jail themselfs I have no feelings for them and I will teach my kids and grandkids to not repect them or think they are good teach your kids they will kill you in a min and get by with it because they will lie everytime To save there butts We all need to put them in there places

  • Stephen Lawson

    It seems funny to me that anyone would think the Police Chief could be capable of preventing crime any more than a President is capable of preventing terrorism. Neither criminals nor terrorists can be prevented, it is a state of mind. So, the ideal is ludacris. While criminals and terrorists may be apprehended, prosecuted and punished for acts committed. The act itself is one of opportunity. If you attempt to regulate and control opportunity there is no freedom or liberty left and those imposing the restrictions become the enemy. Drug use should be treated as a social illness or condition, though hardly the point of this article.

    • Libertarian58

      Well said!

  • Eagle525

    Now how do citizens stop rogue cops and prevent the forth coming police state?

    • wavesofgrain

      Abolish public unions. It would also take care of rogue IRS agents, improve education, etc. The Unions no longer work for the tax payers, but for their union boss and the democratic party. They will go to no lengths to keep their parasitic existence.

    • jibbs3

      All the groups that are against the abusers need to unite into ONE large group and stop the bullsh!t once and forall.

    • Thomas Johnson

      What do you mean by forth coming (sic) police state? WE’RE THERE!!

  • KennyLLC

    Sounds to me like the “unrelated incident” isn’t so unrelated.
    Five Points was a great place for students, parents, and couples to get dinner and sit outdoors before the thugs started taking over.
    Girl paralyzed by stray bullet from Columbia thug violence at Five Points:
    http://www.thestate.com/2013/10/13/3036943/young-woman-shot-sunday-in-five.html
    Support Columbia’s police department.

  • wavesofgrain

    The cop should be fired!!! This is what public unions have brought us, a militant left arm of the democrats, getting away with corruption and harassment, never held accountable. Abolish Public Unions!!!

  • Libertarian58

    Think about it. ALL statutory law operates in the same manner, attempting to predict that a crime MIGHT happen then fining you in advance of any actual injury or damage. What a huge financial boon this is to the “legal” system and “law” enforcement who now claim to be able to read your mind or tell the future to punish you ahead of time. All in the name of “protecting” you. This is tyranny’s best friend and ALL of our politicians, lawyers and courts uphold it.

  • Toy Pupanbai

    Anyone remember what America was like before marijuana was made illegal?

    http://ideas.time.com/2013/10/24/8-things-we-wont-miss-when-pot-is-legal-everywhere/

  • jibbs3

    It’s time to remove the chief and replace him. He’s lost!

  • paendragon

    Just more proof that cops get paid to be serial slanderers!

    All cops only joined up to be paid to pre-judge everyone else “guilty until (never) proven innocent!” – to slander everyone else.

    Thus their initial desire to arrest first, ask questions later, is based more on the civil law onus test (‘balance of probability; which is 50/50; i.e: “If they COULD have done it, assume that they DID do it!”) and not on the criminal one, (‘beyond a reasonable doubt,’ which is way beyond 50/50) which is always left up to the courts to decide, usually at great expense to only the accused.

    They’re all scared little big blue gangsters, who only want to hide behind their shields and to be the only ones allowed to have and use guns on everyone else.

    Serve “the public?” Nonsense – they always want to micro-manage everyone else, to only serve themselves.

    Obviously, these people believe the best defense is a good offense.

    TIME TO PUT SOME RESPONSIBILITIES BACK INTO THE EQUATION:

    I feel the accusers (even the cops) should be held responsible for being wrong: if they fail to prove guilt, then THEY should have to pay for the (falsely-accused) defendant’s wasted time/missed opportunity costs, lawyers’ fees, etc!

    i.e: HOW MANY SCURRILOUS CHARGES WOULD THEY DARE MAKE IF THEY’D END UP PAYING FOR THEIR MISTAKES?!

    ;-)

  • IBCAMN

    it’s kinda like my friend,who had a bogus warrant served on him(wrong address,name and county-judge still let it stand)was and is still involved in a suit against the same county that served the warrant on him!wow,that’s funny!considering he has never been in trouble with the law,ever!its not dope!
    the thing that bugs me more is that NO lawyers want to help him,he had to go out of state for help!!the cop who started all this is in the suit also!funny eh?
    this facebook thing is the same type of crap people don’t see,they are watching(spying) you!keeping track of regular people in their town,city,state!activly spying on you and trying to get information(NSA)this is not right,any of it!
    i always tell people,NEVER,EVER TRUST A COP,THEY ARE ALL CORRUPT!
    and for this pig to delete things then blame someone else is typical of corruption in law inforcement and just to dig himself deeper in a hole again is typical of corruption!

  • Harold Olsen

    Criticizing the cops for rounding up drug dealers was wrong — not illegal. It’s part of a cop job to do that. However, threatening to arrest someone for criticizing the police is also wrong, and, probably illegal. This police chief should be fired for doing to. If I was the guy who criticized the cops, I’d get a lawyer and take him with me to the police station and turn myself in and have my lawyer file a law suit against the cops once they arrested me.