Chain-wielding man arrested in downtown Columbia

A still image from a downtown surveillance camera. (Source: Columbia Police Department)
A still image from a downtown surveillance camera. (Source: Columbia Police Department)
Emmitte Rountree's booking photo (Source: Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center)
Emmitte Rountree's booking photo (Source: Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Surveillance cameras left in place after Columbia's New Year's Eve celebration captured a bizarre scene on February 3 -- a seemingly drunk man swinging a large chain and threatening pedestrians in broad daylight on Main St.

According to an arrest report, 63-year-old Emmitte Rountree of Cayce admitted to officers that he had been drinking before shouting at customers at Drake's Duck Inn at 1544 Main St. around 4:30 that afternoon.

The report states that Rountree was yelling at customers of the restaurant and using vulgar language. Police also said he was threatening and insulting pedestrians when officers arrived.

Video from cameras mounted on Main St. buildings show Rountree swinging a chain during the incident. He was arrested and charged with public drunkenness and disorderly conduct.

The cameras that caught the incident on video were first installed to keep an eye on the city's first "Famously Hot New Year" celebration.

At first, the 20 cameras were supposed to be temporary, but Columbia Police and the city want them to remain permanently.

The Columbia Police Department says since January the cameras have helped to cut crime by 25 percent on Main Street.

City officials say they plan to apply for a grant to pay for the cameras.

Rountree was taken to the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center and has since bonded out.

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