FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CHARLESTON - The following statement is attributable to ACLU of South Carolina Executive Director Frank Knaack:
During a disease outbreak, individual rights may give way to the greater good, but measures depriving people of their liberty must be scientifically supported and proportional. Governor McMaster yesterday issued an executive order that fails to meet this basic test. EO 2020-13 empowers individual law enforcement officers - who are not trained public health professionals - to use their discretion to disperse and criminally charge groups of three or more people. As we know from history, these laws are not applied equally or fairly. Instead, they are used to disproportionately charge and incarcerate Black and brown people. Additionally, this order will unjustifiably increase arrests in direct conflict with public health experts' recommendation to reduce the jail population in response to COVID-19. We urge Governor McMaster to immediately rescind this Executive Order. It is essential that all government officials, including Governor McMaster, listen to public health experts and design a response plan that protects the health, safety, and civil liberties of all.