Group calls for state senator charged in weekend DUI to step down from airport position

Sen. Paul Campbell (Source: Al Cannon Detention Center)
Sen. Paul Campbell (Source: Al Cannon Detention Center)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The South Carolina chapter of the National Action Network called for a state senator arrested for DUI over the weekend to step down from his position with the Charleston International Airport.

State Sen. Paul Campbell was arrested Saturday night after crashing into another car on I-26 between University Boulevard and College Park Road, according to the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

"It is very important that we understand the charges," Elder James Johnson, South Carolina president of the National Action Network, said at a Monday afternoon news conference outside the airport. "Mr. Campbell could have killed somebody under the influence of alcohol."

Jail records state Campbell was charged with DUI and providing false information to police.

Johnson called for Campbell to step down from his position as chief executive officer of the airport until the matter is resolved.

"He was elected to make law, not to break law, and the allegations about lying to a police officer, I think the governor should pull him down for that," Johnson said.

Johnson said the group was there to make sure no special treatments were given to Campbell, and then alleged it had already happened, saying that video during Campbell's bond hearing Sunday was allegedly turned off.

Monday morning, Charleston County spokesperson Shawn Smetana said it appeared a monitor in the courtroom had gone into "sleep" mode.

"The judge's video feed on the bench was working fine which is why no one noticed the monitor was off," Smetana said.

The county did produce video of Campbell's bond court appearance.

"He just needs to do the right thing and just admit that and recuse himself, step away from the aviation authority here," Dixon said. "We should be able to expect that from our elected officials, that if they're wrong, say so, and the people can accept that."

Dixon said there are people who want to be able to trust their politicians, but who have been "lied to and cheated on and basically made the bad guy."

"All he has to do is just step up and say, 'You know, I was wrong, I'm sorry,'" Dixon said.

Johnson said the group was reaching out to the victim whose car was struck in the incident.

"It's no secret that Mr. Campbell is not my favorite person," Johnson said. "Mr. Campbell himself has had $200 million that he could bring minority businesses at this airport to help them build this airport. He did not do that. There is no minority vendors at all at this airport."

Johnson said he called Campbell on three different occasions to discuss diversity at the airport, but said Campbell did not respond to those calls.

Johnson said it is possible the group would picket outside the airport if Campbell does not step down.

As a state senator, Campbell represents portions of Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties.

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