Solicitor: Case against Santiago and Navarro officially closed

Acting Chief Rubin Santiago

COLUMBIA (WACH) â?? 13th Solicitor Walt Wilkins scheduled a press conference to discuss the SLED investigation into the Columbia Police Department and the â??Black Opsâ?? allegation made by former Captain David Navarro.

Wilkins says there is insufficient evidence to bring criminal charges against Navarro or Santiago.

Wilkins says Santiago's conduct did not rise to level of "obstruction of justice".He could not prove beyond resonable doubt that Santiago and Navarro committed crimes.

The case against Santiago and Navarro is officially closed. The Solicitor received a file on this investigation in December and now considers the investigation concluded.

Wilkins goes on to say any lies told during the investigation were not "material" to investigation.

Navarro, who had come to the CPD from the Richland County Sheriffâ??s Department when Randy Scott was named Chief in 2010, was discharged in July from the city for violating departmental policy. City Manager Teresa Wilson cited recording conversations, shredding documents, and spreading rumors as the specific violations. In response, Navarro said he was not spreading rumors, merely â??telling the truthâ?? about a plan he said came from Acting Chief Rubin Santiago to plant drugs and a stolen gun in the car of the Assistant City Manager.

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Navarro made his allegations public, which resulted in the Acting Chief to file a defamation of character law suit against his former Captain Navarro also filed a counter suit.

SLED and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been looking into the allegations since July.

Columbia City Manager Teresa Wilson said she's gald the long investigation of the Columbia Police Department has come to a close.


This has been a long process, but I understand that the length of time was necessary in order for the investigation to be thorough and comprehensive. As a city, we deserve to move forward and the men and women of the Columbia Police Department deserve clarity about the status of the investigation.

I have requested the full investigatory file from SLED Director Mark Keel. Once I have received the investigative file I, along with proper subject matter experts, executive staff and legal advisors will meet to review the file thoroughly to ensure that we have assessed all outcomes of the investigation process.

At this juncture, I cannot make any comments regarding next steps or the path forward until the file has been received and thoroughly reviewed by all pertinent parties.

I would like to thank Solicitor Wilkins, the FBI and Director Keel and his staff at SLED for all of their hard work during this investigation.

Thank you to City Council, City of Columbia staff and all of our citizens for your patience during this process. I appreciate your support and your confidence in the fact that I am committed to transparency, full disclosure and integrity in the Columbia Police Department and in all departments in the City of Columbia", said Wilson.