Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Not enough to do, sheriff?

Richland County (S.C.) Sheriff Leon Lott sure knows how to get his name in the newspaper. The sheriff told The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., that if he can get proof that Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps puffed on some marijuana in his county, he’ll file criminal drug charges against him. A British newspaper recently published a photo that purportedly shows the record-setting athlete smoking marijuana during a November party at the University of South Carolina. Phelps already has apologized for “inappropriate” behavior, and university and Columbia police have made it clear they won’t be seeking charges against him, but Lott, the crime dog of central South Carolina, won’t give up so easily. “This one might be a lot easier (than the average drug case) since we have photographs of someone using drugs and a partial confession,” Lott told The State. “It’s a relatively easy case once we can determine where the crime occurred.” The only thing Lott’s grandstanding could possibly accomplish is to ensure that Phelps never again sets foot in South Carolina. I’m pretty sure he’s not going to be extradited to face a misdemeanor charge. As a former resident of Richland County, I can assure you that Lott has much more serious crimes he could be attending to. Maybe he should try to clear up some rape and robbery cases before he wastes everyone’s time by trying to charge some kid for hitting a bong.



Anonymous Anonymous said...


For his next trick, will he be going after people who cross at the crosswalk while the "Don't Walk" sign is illuminated? Sounds like a publicity-seeker...

--Brad Hundt

February 4, 2009 at 11:44 AM  
Blogger Brant said...

Sorry for getting off the subject, but your crosswalk comment reminded me of something. Back in the mid-70s, when I was working at the White House, I was walking in D.C. one day when I sprinted across a street in mid-block. I hear somebody yell, "Hey, Pittsburgh!" I turn, and there's a cop who was not pleased with my jaywalking. I asked him how he knew I was from the Pittsburgh area, and he said Pittsburghers jaywalk more than people from any other area, and he made an educated guess. I did not know that then, and I'm still not sure it's true, but he believed that was the case.

February 4, 2009 at 11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you ever work downtown Pittsburgh? If you crossed at a curb everyone knew you were a tourist!


February 4, 2009 at 1:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's funny. It's kind of like how if someone passes you on the Ohio Turnpike going about 85 MPH, you can pretty much guess they're from Michigan. Drivers there like to floor it, and someone I once asked about it thinks it's because there are so many potholes in Michigan roads that drivers think they'll be airborne and can fly over the potholes if they just go fast enough.

--Brad Hundt

February 4, 2009 at 2:17 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

I'm not much of a city guy, amom. In Pittsburgh, I know how to get to sporting venues and the South Side. Not much else. Washington is actually way too busy for my tastes, and it's damn near a ghost town.

February 4, 2009 at 2:21 PM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

We got a little off topic on this one so I thought I'd toss in my opinion on Phelps.

Here is a guy who has spent the last four years doing nothing but working toward Olympic gold, training and training...doing nothing else. And during the four years prior, all he did was train. He's 23 now, so for the last 8 to 9 years, he's dedicated his life to swimming - and doing it for the United States. So from the age of 14 or 15, all he's done is train. I say he should get a break. He's only now doing the stuff that just about all of us did when we were in our teens. He just hasn't had the chance.

I think the only thing he really did wrong was use poor judgment by hitting the bong in front of people who you just know have cell phone cameras. Normally, I'm pretty tough on athletes who break the law, but in this case, I think the one who looks the worst is the sheriff.

February 5, 2009 at 7:29 AM  
Blogger miss bess said...

Priguy - I couldn't agree more.

I heard a piece on "This American Life" on NPR last weekend along the lines of the public relaxing and allowing Obama to be the cigarette smoker that he is. The producers of the radio show said something like, "Geez - he's our image of a great president so far. Let the guy have a few vices..." I think the same holds true in our all-American Olympian's case. Big deal. Move on.

Had someone only thought to snap a photo of him post-bong hit, sitting over a Denny's grand slam, then at least he could add another endorsement to his list!

February 6, 2009 at 8:22 PM  

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