Prisma Health doctor arrested following racially-charged incident near Benedict College

As of Jan. 16, the medical centers and hospitals under the brands of Palmetto Health and...
As of Jan. 16, the medical centers and hospitals under the brands of Palmetto Health and Greenville Health Systems are officially unified as Prisma Health. (Source: Prisma Health)
Updated: Jul. 2, 2020 at 12:26 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A Prisma Health psychiatrist is on administrative leave following his arrest in a racially-charged incident that happened near Benedict College on June 28.

Dr. Joseph Markowitz, 44, faces charges of hate intimidation and public disorderly conduct.

Columbia Police officers were called to 2013 Harden St. around 11:25 a.m. that Sunday regarding a civil disturbance. That’s the United gas station near Allen Benedict Court.

Once officers arrived, they found Markowitz and detained him.

Witnesses in the area told officers Markowitz shouted racially-charged comments repeatedly at people outside of the Harden Street gas station while driving by the location in his vehicle.

After questioning witnesses and Markowitz about what had happened, officers arrested him.

The United gas station, convenience store and liquor store that share space have been the center of recent protests after a Black woman says the owner of the liquor store called her racial slurs and assaulted her.

The owner of that store, Youssef “Joe” Al Ammouri, faces charges of assault and battery, as well as hate intimidation. Protesters are calling for his liquor license and business permit to be revoked.

It’s unclear if there was an ongoing protest when Markowitz was arrested, but a flyer posted on social media indicates there was a protest that day.

He has bonded out of the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center after a judge set a $257.50 personal recognizance bond on each charge.

A spokesperson for Prisma Health said they are investigating and released the following statement:

“Prisma Health is committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace, which welcomes all individuals and reflects the communities and patients we serve. Diversity is part of our culture, an important part of our values, and who we are as an organization.

Prisma Health has been notified by community members of inappropriate actions allegedly made by a Prisma Health team member Dr. Joseph David Markowitz.

These alleged actions do not reflect Prisma Health’s values. We take all allegations very seriously. Our leadership team will investigate, and appropriate actions will be taken. This person has been placed on immediate administrative leave pending the investigation.”

This is a developing story.

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