Charleston City Councilman Harry Griffin left a Berkeley County jail Sunday morning after being arrested Saturday night on a driving under the influence charge.
According to court records, Griffin was to be released after a magistrate set a $500 personal recognizance bond during a 9 a.m. bond hearing. An official at Hill-Finklea Detention Center said he was expected to be released later this morning.
A traffic report on the arrest was not available Sunday morning, but online records show that Griffin, who lives on Fieldfare Way in Charleston, was booked into the county jail in Moncks Corner at 9:30 p.m. Saturday by the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office on a charge of “driving under the influence, less than .10, 1st offense.”
Sunday night, Griffin posted on Facebook, saying, “I want to go on the record now and proclaim my innocence, as I will be vindicated in court in due time.”
He will make a formal statement this week, according to the post.
Griffin is currently mounting a reelection bid for his West Ashley council seat after initially saying he would not run for the post again. In 2019, the first-term councilman said for months that he was considering running for mayor against incumbent John Tecklenburg, but eventually decided against it in that election.
In recent months, Griffin has come under fire for involvement with a Dec. 5 protest downtown attended by the Proud Boys, a nationwide hate group.
Griffin has faced calls for his resignation since he initially committed to speak at a protest downtown billed as a conservative, anti-tax rally. Before the event, Griffin told organizers he had other commitments and did not end up speaking or attending. Members of the Proud Boys, a designated hate group, attended and were later praised by organizers. In December, an online petition calling for Griffin’s resignation garnered more than 23,000 signatures.
In a Dec. 9 apology, Griffin said he withdrew his participation beforehand and did not attend. In audio of a phone conversation released by organizers, a caller recognized as Griffin criticized his colleagues while discussing the group’s plans.
Following the apology, Griffin was removed from a city committee charged with eradicating institutional racism. At the time, Councilmen William Dudley Gregorie and Jason Sakran, who co-chair the city’s Commission on Equity, Inclusion and Racial Conciliation, said the decision to remove Griffin was made to ensure the group “is able to complete its work without further distractions.”
“The Commission was formed with the task of eliminating institutionalized racism and achieving racial equity throughout the City of Charleston, and we look forward to continuing those critically important efforts,” Gregorie and Sakran said in a joint statement.
Andy Brack and Sam Spence contributed to this report.
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