Charlie Tillman leaves, Calhoun Falls benefits
Wednesday, July 02, 2014 12:00 AM
After he entered Alford pleas and brought his trial to an end, now former Calhoun Falls town councilman Charlie Tillman alluded that a move to Boston is in his future. Sorry, Charlie, who don’t know what that will mean for Boston, but it surely does portend a potentially better future for the town you represented.
Tillman has been a newspaper headliner, that’s for certain, but that has been at the expense of a town that has been trying and continues to try to pull itself up from hard times. All the while, Tillman has torn down projects, such as the Blue Hole, and embarrassed the town with his antics and threats to “burn this (expletive) town down.”
Last week, Tillman was in court in Abbeville County to face a jury on charges of driving under the influence and threatening the life of a police officer. For months Tillman denied any wrongdoing in what led to his April 2012 arrest. During that arrest, Tillman could be heard lobbing accusations of police corruption and misconduct. He threw down the race card as well by implying the arresting officer had on the wrong uniform and should instead have been wearing “a robe and a hood.”
At the end of the day, when Tillman and his attorney recognized the evidence against him was such that a jury would likely issue guilty verdicts, Tillman abruptly brought his trial to an end by entering the Alford pleas. A more subdued and apologetic Tillman emerged at that point, a refreshing turnabout from the Charlie Tillman we and the townspeople saw all too often, albeit too late.
Tillman would have served the town and himself better had he handled the situation differently. His hot-headed reaction when he was initially arrested was bad enough, but when he had time to cool down wisdom should have prevailed and he should have accepted the prosecution’s offer to plead guilty to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct. Had he done so, he would not have faced the felony -- threatening an officer’s life -- that led to his having to relinquish his council seat. Even so, we suspect Tillman would not be all that much a changed man had he taken the plea deal and remained on council. In fact, we suspect, given his history, the opposite would have been true and Calhoun Falls would have been in the headlines for more of the same unfortunate reasons.
Honestly, we do wish Charlie Tillman well. We hope Boston, or wherever he chooses to re-establish his life, works out well for him. But we also wish Calhoun Falls well and think the town will be better off with the combative Tillman out of office. He no doubt had is supporters and constituents or else he would not have been elected to serve. That said, however, he served as more of a distraction and detractor -- at least from our perspective -- and now the town can move forward.