Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Councilman Moe Baddourah, who is running for Columbia Mayor, wants fellow councilmembers and the city manager to ask the FBI to investigate the Columbia Police Department after allegations of a covert plan to frame a city official.
"Everybody is still in a state of shock," Baddourah said. There's a lot of closeness between Richland County and SLED and the Police Department."
The closeness is why Baddourah wants another agency to step in, especially since allegations are between Interim Police Chief Ruben Santiago and fired Captain David Navarro.
"Out of an abundance of caution I think it's important that we bring in the FBI or any other agency that can help us bring the truth of this subject," Baddourah said.
Councilwoman Leona Plaugh responded to Baddourah's appeal, suggesting the question be tabled until an August council work session.
"I think it's worth looking at," Plaugh said. "That is in no way to say that I'm not confident SLED would do a thorough investigation, because I think they would."
Councilman Brian Dequincey Newman also responded saying in a statement, "As a former prosecutor, I have worked with SLED on a number of occasions and can tell you that it is a first class law enforcement agency. Mr. Baddourah's allegation that these agents are somehow not objective is completely out of bounds and could have very real consequences to any criminal charges that arise out of this investigation as well as future SLED investigations."
Mayor Steve Benjamin also responded saying he has confidence in SLED and their investigative capability.
"If SLED feels they need to involve the FBI or any other agency in the course of their investigation, they will not hesitate to do so," Benjamin said. "But that is their decision, not ours."