Columbia city manager has no plans to suspend interim police chi - - Columbia, South Carolina

Columbia city manager has no plans to suspend interim police chief

Columbia City Manager Teresa Wilson Columbia City Manager Teresa Wilson
Interim Police Chief Ruben Santiago Interim Police Chief Ruben Santiago
David Navarro David Navarro

Columbia's city manager has no plans to suspend the police department's interim chief as a criminal investigation moves forward into several allegations into the department. The city employee handbook outlines reasons for the city manager to issue a suspension.

"There is no evidence that Interim Chief Santiago has violated any City policy or law, therefore there is no basis for investigatory suspension. We are completely open to the full investigation currently being conducted by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and will continue to work closely with them during this process," City Manager Teresa Wilson wrote in an emailed statement to WIS.

Monday, sources confirmed to WIS that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is now involved in the investigation into multiple complaints against Santiago and former CPD Captain Dave Navarro. Last week, State Law Enforcement Division agents started interviewing people connected to the case.

Neither the FBI nor SLED would explain the extent to which either agency's involvement is.

The city released a copy of its employee handbook to WIS last week after we filed a Freedom of Information Act request for it. The city's policy over "Investigatory Suspension Leave" is outlined on page 43 of the 72 page handbook. The policy states, "An investigatory suspension may be initiated by the City Manager or Department Director if an employee is accused of a serious misdemeanor, felony or any action deemed unbecoming of a City of Columbia employee or when it is in the City's best interest that an employee be relieved of duty pending an investigation of any circumstances or charges."

On July 15, we aired a series of reports involving Navarro who claims he was suspended for not carrying out what he described as "black ops" for his boss, Santiago. Navarro said Santiago presented him with a plot to plant a stolen gun and drugs on assistant city manager Allison Baker's car. A second "black ops" plot, according to Navarro, was for Santiago to use him to target Sergeant Andre Williams.

Williams is over the west region of the city.

Santiago has denied all accusations against him and released a statement Monday night in regards to a WIS report about allegations of a second "black ops" against Andre Williams and his wife, Shannon. "I have been apprised of the allegations concerning me, and I unequivocally deny them and any current or future allegation regarding this matter. Furthermore, this matter has been referred for investigation and there will be no additional comment," Santiago wrote.

Several WIS viewers have sent emails, called and commented on our social media sites asking why Santiago has not been suspended. We'll have a report on our efforts to answer those question, coming up tonight at 6.

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