Richland County Sheriff Blames Bar for Gang Issues in Popular Columbia District

According to Richland County sheriff, Leon Lott, the gang problem in in Columbia’s Five Points entertainment district isn’t getting better. In fact, it’s getting worse. He claims that a large part of the problem is a bar, The Library, that has a reputation for being gang member friendly.


Lott recently launched an investigation that involved sending officers into the bar. Some of these officers wore uniforms, while others when undercover. Based on the information collected by both sets of officers, a single gang is hard at work trying to claim the bar as their own. Not only do they get into fights with rival gangs, but they have also taken to robbing anyone who isn’t connected to the gang and is in the area after midnight.

This isn’t the first time The Library has drawn heat from local law enforcement. Court records indicate that it has a history of police citations as being the site of both illegal activity and bar fights.

LineaThe recent shooting in Five Points that left a University of Florida student who was waiting for a taxi paralyzed has drawn media attention to the gang problem in the area, as well as triggered a public demand for local law enforcement to crack down on all gang related activity.

According to Lott, shutting down The Library would be the first step in helping reduce gang activity. He points out that bar has had an opportunity to regulate the gang clientele it attracts but that management has chosen not to do so.

“They need to close and they need to cease the type of operations they’re doing right now,” he told reporters. “They are the sore spot in the Five Points area.”

Justin Kershner who owns The Library quickly pointed out that it’s not fair to cite his establishment as the source of all the trouble just because it happens to be the only bar in Five Points. “By targeting my place because I have a predominantly black crowd in my business… what you’re telling me, as an American citizen, is that every black person is a gangster.”

Lott admits that his undercover operation was done without the permission of the Columbia Police Department who officially provide protection to Five Points. He claims he didn’t seek the assistance of the CPD because he didn’t want to have to cut through all the red tape involved in obtaining permission.

“I don’t have to ask permission,” Lott said. “If it’s a law enforcement function that we need to get done, then we go out and we get it done.” Justin Kershner, the interim police chief of the Columbia Police Department says he has no objections with the way Lott handled the matter.

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Attorney John Bales of Florida ’s top personal injury firm hopes the investigation is the first step in cleaning up the Five Points area. “People who venture into Five Points, shouldn’t have to worry about getting shot or robbed while they’re there. I hope local law enforcement continues to work to eradicate the gang contingency in the area.”

Home Invasion Victim Says She Was Threatened with a Hammer

Thursday morning didn’t start off well for Mary Mister, 61. At approximately 2:30 a.m. she jerked awake after hearing a noise. She tried to ignore it, but the sound kept nagging at her. After a few moments, she decided she wouldn’t be able to fall back to sleep if she didn’t check it out, so that’s exactly what she did.

hammerShe didn’t expect to find herself face to face with a man who had a hammer in his hand and who swore he was ready to use it on Mary if she did anything to try to stop him from robbing her home.

“She told me she was asleep and when she woke up the guy stood over her with a hammer and said ‘Don’ t you move’. He got up and put her on the floor and said don’t move,” Mary’s husband, George told members of the press.

When he realized Mary believed him, Mary told the police he than proceeded to throw a sheet over her, most likely to conceal his identity. Once she was covered, he went through the house, taking jewelry, televisions, and anything else of value he was able to find. It’s estimated he left the house with approximately $9,000 worth of the Mister’s personal property.

“They got her purse and ID and credit cards and everything,” George Mister said.

While Mary was able to get through the home invasion without any physical injuries, the entire experience was psychologically scarring. Her husband, who got home approximately 15 minutes after the home invasion took place, reports that the ordeal left her traumatized.


“When I came home from work about 4 o’clock, I opened the door and saw stuff on the floor and I thought something happened to my wife and I said ‘Mary, Mary’. She was in the room here crying,” said Mister. “I wanted to call police but I didn’t have a phone. He took everything, phone, TVs, I’m just so upset right now,”

Mary Mister reports that she still doesn’t know how the man managed to break into their home. Local police are examining the house in an attempt to determine the point of entry. In a blitz approach, the rapist uses a direct, injurious physical assault which subdues and physically injures the victim. The attacker may also use chemicals or gases but most frequently makes use of his ability to physically overpower a woman. Interestingly, despite its simplicity,

Mary described the assailant as a slender man in his 30’s who was wearing beige Nike shoes that were tied with bright orange shoelaces.

personal-injury-claims“I’m so glad this story doesn’t have a tragic ending, like so many other home invasion stories do,” Joe and Martin, a managing personal injury attorney at Myrtle Beach, said when he learned about Mary Mister’s ordeal. “The best way to handle a home invasion is to do exactly as Mary did, to let comply with what the burglar told her and let him take her stuff. As a result of her letting the thief do as he wished. Mary is alive and physically unharmed.”

If you have been injured during a home invasion, you have the right to file a personal injury claim against the individual who broke into your home. Contact us to learn more about your legal options.



Liability Laws for Dog Owners Bring Confusion for California Pet Owners


Humans and dogs have shared a special bond that goes back thousands of years. The role the dog played in shaping culture’s all over the world is why they’re referred to as man’s best friend. Throughout the centuries they’ve been used for everything from simple companionship, to protection, to herding and hunting. Today, we’re even starting to understand that dogs play an important role in our emotional health.

Considering how much we love our dogs, it’s easy to understand how we can lose sight of the fact that at the end of the day, they are still animals and as such not as predictable as we often trick ourselves into believing. Even though your dog is very well trained and has never offered to bite anyone, you need to understand that if the circumstances are just right, they have the ability to bite. If that happens you could be facing a personal injury claim that’s been filed by the person your dog snapped at.

The laws surrounding California dog bite liability have been a source of great confusion in recent years, but officials are working to raise awareness and help pet owners be prepared and knowledgeable about current laws.

If you don’t have good quality home owner’s insurance policy, or if you failed to alert your insurance company to the fact you have a dog, or that dog is a breed they won’t cover, all of your assets and income could be taken away from you and used to finance the dog bite victim’s medical bills and other bite related expenses.

Whether you’re the owner of a dog, or someone who has just been bitten, it’s important to understand the way the law works regarding the animal.

tumblr_inline_ns915s25hF1t5xijq_500The laws regarding biting dogs vary from one state to the next. California has the distinction of being a one bite state, which means that the dog is able to bite someone one time (depending on the situation) and the victim won’t be able to press charges. However, if the dog turns around and bites someone else, or even the same person, the dog owner could find themselves facing a personal injury lawsuit.

The way the state laws are currently set up, if a person is severely injured by the dog bite, they can file a personal injury claim against the dog’s owners and seek out compensation for their medical expenses, additional losses, and the legal fees they’ll owe their attorney. It will be on the plaintiff to prove that they did nothing to provoke the attack.

For the purposes of personal injuries during dog bite cases, a severe injury is one that results in “any physical injury that results in broken bones or disfiguring lacerations requiring multiple sutures or cosmetic surgery.” (The Dog Law, sec. 102.)

dogbite_settlement-300x206California personal injury attorney, Drew Warren, understands how California’s dog bite laws can be complicated. “The best thing a person can do after they’ve sustained an injury in a dog bite, is contacting a lawyer who will not only help the individual determine whether they sustained a non-severe or severe injury, but will also help you file the necessary paperwork, guide you through the legal process, and make sure you get the settlement you need and deserve.”