Interim Police Chief Ruben Santiago, with the Columbia Police Department in South Carolina, is under some scrutiny after making an apparent arrest threat to a Facebook user who was critical of a marijuana bust.
On Thursday, CPD first published a post about its "40K of marijuana" seized from an apartment in Columbia, prompting resident Brandon Whitmer to criticize the arrest of "a stoner that's not bothering anyone."
"Maybe u should arrest the people shooting people in 5 points instead of worrying about a stoner that's not bothering anyone," he wrote. "It'll be legal here one day anyway."
It certainly was a critical and snarky comment by Whitmer, but was it enough "reasonable suspicion" for police to believe he "might be a criminal?" That's what Santiago claimed in a reply:
"@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 post was quickly deleted, but followed up by a clarifying post:
The website PopeHat.com reportedly received the following statement from CPD on Friday:
Chief Santiago did write those two posts. I believe the original comment was misconstrued. I appreciate you reaching out to CPD.
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.
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.