Credibility will be on display
On April 12, I attended a news conference that was called by the Aiken Branch of the NAACP. The purpose of the news conference was to solicit information from the Aiken Department of Public Safety on the status of the investigation involving the death of Lukisha Thomas, and the injury to Ray Charles Wooden, Jr. Charles Barranco, director of ADPS, was the spokesman for ADPS.
There were about 200 people in attendance at the news conference, and there was much frustration expressed regarding the investigation of Thomas G. Woodruff, Jr., the driver of the vehicle that struck Thomas and Wooden on March 30. As is standard protocol, Barranco would not give any specific information regarding the investigation such as whether Woodruff was tested for alcohol or drug use immediately after the incident. Most of the attendees were not satisfied with his answers, and many wondered if the ADPS was pursuing some type of cover up to protect Woodruff, a local attorney.
Barranco issued an opinion regarding the ultimate disposition of the investigation. Barranco was asked, based on his experience, if he thought some type of charges will be leveled against Woodruff. He said that he thought the circumstances warranted charges, but the Solicitor’s office will make that decision after the investigation is completed.
From this writer’s perspective, the credibility of ADPS and the Solicitor’s office will be on display when an ultimate decision is made regarding charges. Let’s hope that the citizens of Aiken are not disappointed with the disposition of this tragic case.
There are five children who no longer have a mother, and the impact on these children will be felt for many years. They deserve to know that the death of their mother will not be treated with disrespect and lack of concern.