In Brief: October 23, 2013

City to use injunctions to combat gangs

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin wants the city to crack down on gangs by having a state judge issue a civil injunction against specific gangs, gang members and their territories, The State reported.

Benjamin told The State he expects the injunction would be directed at four sections of Columbia, including Five Points. It would make each offense by a gang member a contempt of court violation, which can be punished by jail time, fines or both. The proposal will be officially announced later this week.

In “Civil Gang Injunctions: A Guide for Prosecutors,” Los Angeles’ deputy city attorney Max Shiner wrote that one of the benefits of an injunction is it “gives police officers a tool to arrest gang members for conduct that harms the community before it develops into dangerous or violent crime.”

Civil gang injunctions originated in 1987 in Los Angeles, based on California nuisance laws, according to The State.

— Sarah Ellis, Assistant News Editor

5th inmate dies in Orangeburg within year

A 34-year-old man was found dead at the Orangeburg County Detention Center on Monday, becoming the fifth person to die in custody at the jail in about a year, The (Orangeburg) Times and Democrat reported.

A cause of death has not yet been determined for Thurston Massey, who was being held in the jail infirmary and was charged with drunken driving. Investigators have not indicated that foul play was involved.

In October 2012, Money Lee Frazier was found dead in his cell. The cause of his death has still not been determined, but the jail was cleared of responsibility, the newspaper reported.

Two other inmates died of suicide by asphyxiation, and another died of a heart condition, according to The Times and Democrat.

— Sarah Ellis, Assistant News Editor

2 adults exposed to rabies in Fairfield County

The state Department of Health and Environmental Control says two Fairfield County adults may have been exposed to rabies by a dog, The State reported.

The two are now undergoing post-exposure treatments after they came into contact with the dog near Winnsboro, which is about 25 miles north of Columbia.

Two dogs and three cats have been diagnosed with rabies so far this year. State law mandates that pet owners must have their pets vaccinated against rabies.

Last year, there were 137 confirmed cases of animal rabies in South Carolina; this year, there have been 102 confirmed cases in animals.

“If you think you have been exposed to the rabies virus through a bite, scratch or the saliva of a possibly infected animal, immediately wash the affected area with plenty of soap and water,” Sue Ferguson of DHEC’s Bureau of Environmental Health Services told The State.
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— Hannah Jeffrey, Assistant News Editor


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