Sen. Martin remembers Pinckney as ‘the best of us’

By Ben Robinson
Staff Reporter

COLUMBIA — Sen. Larry Martin was still reeling Monday after spending the day in ceremonies remembering his colleague Sen. Clementa C. Pinckney, who died in last week’s shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, where he served as pastor.

“I’ve been in Columbia for 37 years now,” Martin said. “I have never been through anything so emotional.”

Martin praised Pinckney.

“He was among the best of us,” Martin said. “He had a real down-to-Earth manner. But he had a deep baritone that captured people’s attention. You couldn’t help but respect him. We really admired and appreciated the man.”

Martin remembered Pinckney speaking out on the issue of body cameras for local police departments.

“He spoke of the disciple Thomas, who had to see the nail prints in Jesus’ hands to have enough evidence of His arising,” Martin said. “It was a very moving speech and a very touching moment.”

In the wake of the shootings, the security in churches will still be up to the churches themselves, Martin said.

“There is no sanctuary from evil,” Martin said. “Many churches had already adopted tough security policies before this episode. I recommend it. It doesn’t make common sense for good people to be put at risk as they try to work for their community.”