Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Ex-SCGOP official arrested on domestic violence charge

Todd Kincannon also has history of alleged threats in his hometown

Posted by Paul Bowers on Tue, Apr 7, 2015 at 3:12 PM

click to enlarge Todd Kincannon - COURTESY OF LEXINGTON COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT
  • Courtesy of Lexington County Sheriff's Department
  • Todd Kincannon

Todd Kincannon, a former executive director of the S.C. Republican Party, was arrested Monday night on a charge of criminal domestic violence, according to the Lexington County Sheriff's Department. Kincannon's bond was set at $5,000 in a hearing this morning, and he was ordered not to contact his wife or return to her residence.

A spokesman says the Sheriff's Department arrested Kincannon on a warrant in connection with a previous incident that took place at Kincannon's Columbia home on the night of March 26. On that night, Kincannon's wife, Ashely Griffith, reportedly told a responding officer that Kincannon had grabbed her arm and threatened to drive their car into a concrete barrier. She also reportedly said that she and Kincannon had "a history of unreported domestic violence" and that she had "past incidents of domestic violence and threats of homicide/suicide recorded." Kincannon later told the City Paper that his behavior was due to an accidental overdose of the cough suppressant benzonatate.

In South Carolina, a first offense of criminal domestic violence (CDV) is considered a misdemeanor. If found guilty, offenders can face up to 30 days in prison or a $2,500 fine. The state House and Senate are both currently revisiting the criminal domestic violence law and have been locked in a debate recently over whether people convicted of CDV should be allowed to own firearms.

Kincannon served as executive director of the SCGOP for two months in 2010. Since then, he has worked as a lawyer at his own practice in Columbia and lived a second life as a Twitter troll. Employing what he described as "purely satire, some self-parody," Kincannon called Trayvon Martin a "feral animal posing as human," joked about how transgender people should be "put in a camp," and wrote of the May 2014 Isla Vista shootings, "No idea how my son will die, but I know it won't be cowering like a bitch at UC Santa Barbara." Sometime after Kincannon filed an unsuccessful lawsuit in July 2014 in which he claimed state officials were violating his free-speech rights by investigating his use of Twitter, Kincannon's second Twitter account was suspended.

Kincannon has also had a few run-ins with the law in his hometown of Simpsonville in recent years, although none have led to his arrest.

Just before midnight on April 13, 2013, according to one incident report, an officer with the Simpsonville Police Department responded to a call from Kincannon's father, who said he wished to report an incident but did not want to press charges. The father (whose name has been redacted from the report) said that he had been woken up at 11:55 p.m. by his dogs barking because Kincannon was banging on the front door. Kincannon reportedly said that he had spilled Coca-Cola on his hands and needed to wash them. When the father followed him into the kitchen, Kincannon allegedly pulled a out a revolver, pointed it at his father, and screamed, "Get back, motherfucker, or I'll kill you."

The father said that he tried to retreat, but his son pushed him against the front door twice and said, "Now I'm going to kill you, motherfucker." The father ran shoeless to another house and said that "he could see the red laser sight from Todd's handgun bouncing around as he was running," according to the report.

Speaking to police, Kincannon's father said he and his wife had given Kincannon "large amounts of money in the recent past (including $35,000) to help Todd pay off student loans and to help him catch up on payments to the rental house" and that tension had arisen recently over inheritance issues after a family member passed away. An officer wrote at the time, "He advised that he's seen the weapon plenty of times in the past, especially when Todd put his own gun to his head and threatened to kill himself." Kincannon's father also said there was "a lengthy history of Todd verbally and physically abusing he and his wife."

A week later, on April 20, 2013, Kincannon's father called police again to say that he feared Kincannon would show up at his house with a firearm. He said that Kincannon had prepared his grandfather's will and that Kincannon "believes he should have all of it." The report also stated that Kincannon's father "said he had recordings of threats being made to him but he could not let us listen to them at this time." The father called again later in the day to report that he had received threatening text messages from his son.

"I advised him that he could get a Mental Health Pick up order issued for his son," the responding officer wrote in an incident report. "He stated that he would look into it."

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