Randolph rails against ‘bogus charges’ at meeting

Published 3:09 pm Wednesday, November 13, 2019

During a contentious Selma City Council meeting Tuesday night, in which members were at odds over suggestions proposed by Brown Chapel AME Church Pastor Leodis Strong to resolve ongoing issues between the council and Selma Mayor Darrio Melton, Selma City Councilman Sam Randolph discussed his 2018 public lewdness charge, which was recently tossed out.

Randolph turned himself into the Selma Police Department (SPD) on May 11 last year after an incident a month earlier – according to a press release issued by former SPD Chief Spencer Collier at the time of incident, Randolph was seen “urinating” in an area “readily visible to the public.”

Randolph said the charge was recently thrown out after his attorney, Faya Rose Toure, filed a motion to dismiss the charges, as Randolph has neither been arraigned or gone to court over the “bogus charges.”

During Tuesday night’s meeting, Randolph berated Collier and Melton for what he called an “orchestrated” effort to silence him.

“I’m just appalled by the police department,” Randolph said during the meeting. “It’s just not right for the police department to do a citizen like that because [they’re] trying to shut somebody up.”

Randolph encouraged the “mayor’s buddies” on the council to make sure that he’s aware of the councilman’s demands – if they go unmet, Randolph plans to file suit in federal court over the damage done to his reputation as a result of the “so-called lewdness.”

“[The] only thing I’m asking for is very simple – I want a public apology from the police department, I want a public apology from the mayor and that’s it,” Randolph said. “If that’s too much, I’ll see you in federal court. You can’t shut me up, because I’m a person that’s not easy to shut up.”

Randolph’s comments sparked a fiery response from Selma City Council President Pro Tem Angela Benjamin, who offered her condolences over the fact that Randolph was forced to endure such a debacle.

“There’s too many lies in this city,” Benjamin said. “Too much propaganda in this city.”

Elsewhere in the meeting, SPD Interim Chief Robert Green announced that he would be leaving the department effective Nov. 30, which throws a wrench in the council’s plans of extending his contract through the end of the year.

Selma City Council President Corey Bowie stated that the council would proceed with interviews for all six of the candidates eying the position on Nov. 20 and a new chief would be announced at a special called meeting thereafter.

The council also approved the following items on its consent agenda, though Selma City Councilman Michael Johnson abstained from voting on the items and Selma City Councilwoman Miah Jackson abstained on the first and second items:

• a resolution authorizing AT&T to modify an existing tower located on U.S. Hwy. 80 West to provide wireless services within the city’s corporate limits and police jurisdiction;

• a liquor license for Ultra Grand Lounge, located in Ward 8;

• a fee waiver for the Selma City Vikings football team to use Memorial Stadium during its upcoming season;

• moving the dates of upcoming council meetings to Monday, Nov. 18 and Tuesday, Dec. 17 to work around the upcoming holidays.