We sent a letter today to the leaders of law enforcement agencies whose officers participated in violent actions against non-violent protestors in Charleston on Sunday, May 31. We observed as police officers actively pursued peaceful protestors, making arrests and firing projectiles and chemicals. The brutality we witnessed matches additional complaints we have received from individuals in Charleston and other parts of South Carolina. These actions were clear, dangerous, and counterproductive responses to people exercising their Constitutional rights. Our letter calls for a public apology for officers’ actions, plan for investigating and holding officers who used excessive force accountable, and steps agencies will take to protect and ensure the fundamental right to protest.
We are united in solidarity with Minneapolis, Louisville, and all the communities reeling from the murders of Black people by police. We will not rest until there is an end to racist policing and real justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and all who came before them and, unfortunately, will likely come after them.
Recipients of the letter include:
- Sheriff S. Duane Lewis, Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office
- Sheriff James Alton Cannon, Jr., Charleston County Sheriff’s Office
- Chief Luther T. Reynolds, Charleston Police Department
- Chief Carl Ritchie, Mount Pleasant Police Department
- Chief Mark Keel, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division