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Littered napkin leads to attempted ‘kidnapping’ by Clemson employee

Clemson University Police Department Stock

Two Clemson employees got into an altercation over a littered napkin last month that ultimately led to one employee fearing for his life, according to an incident report obtained by The Tiger.

A team of Clemson University Police Department officers responded to a call on Sept. 26, where “someone was trying to run over another person with a vehicle,” according to the report.

According to the statements made by the officers and Clemson employees involved in the incident, around 5 p.m., a Clemson faculty member discarded a white, crumpled napkin into the bushes of the E-21 parking lot on Clemson’s campus.

Another employee saw the disposal as an act of littering and confronted him about the act, saying that “he works for Clemson University” and that this was “his campus” and “we do not do that here.” According to the incident report, the employee began to get “belligerent” with the faculty member and “bowed-up at him.” At this point, the faculty member felt threatened and returned to his vehicle in order to leave the parking lot.

The upset employee took a stance in front of the faculty member’s car in order to collect the details of his vehicle and license plate and to hold him there until the police were able to arrive. The car backed up into the employee’s legs, backed out of the parking spot and then began to move forward with the employee in front.

The employee jumped onto the hood of the car and held onto the windshield wipers. After a post-incident meeting with CUPD, the employee said that the car was traveling “at a high rate of speed through the parking lot while jerking side to side in an attempt to get him off of the car.” He detailed that the car “stopped at the stop sign just before Cherry Rd,” and at that point, he got off the vehicle.

The driver got out of the car to fix his wiper blades and got back in to drive to the Biosystems Research Complex to meet with the police.

Later, the faculty member admitted to tossing a napkin into the bushes but shared that “due to the research he does in his job field, he did not believe he was littering due to the napkin be bio-degradable,” according to the report.

The officer informed the faculty member of South Carolina state statute 16-11-0700 and section 44-96-0040, which define the elements of prohibited littering. Based on that law, the napkin does not fit this definition.

Even if the napkin did fit the elements of littering, the other employee had no legal authority to prevent him from leaving. The officer made the faculty member aware of the elements of South Carolina section 16-03-0910, defining the elements and consequences of kidnapping. The faculty member was “informed of his rights as a victim of kidnapping” and was provided the opportunity to press charges, according to the report.

The other employee was informed by police that “he was not within legal authority to stop someone from leaving.” According to the report, he was advised that by law, what he did was, in fact, kidnapping and that the other party was given the opportunity to press charges.

The police also explained that his actions put “himself in harms way” and that “the other party was in fear of their life and just trying to leave the scene.”

At this point, no charges have been pressed on or by either party and the napkin was given to one of the responding officers at the time of the incident.

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Kailyn Kelly
Kailyn Kelly, Senior Reporter
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Comments (3)

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  • K

    KevinOct 31, 2023 at 12:59 pm

    Campus visitors, beware! Do not litter. Or kidnap

  • T

    TJ JohnsonOct 26, 2023 at 1:58 pm

    Go Tigers.

    • I

      interested ReaderOct 30, 2023 at 3:15 pm

      my thoughts exactly…