FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – A small but vocal group of protesters gathered outside the Florence County Sheriff’s Office Wednesday afternoon to express outrage over what they claim are lies surrounding the alleged use of excessive force during a recent arrest.
It was the second news conference held by the National Action Network in as many weeks. Their efforts stem from the arrest earlier this month of Tyler Fleming, who claims FCSO deputies placed him in an illegal chokehold while he was under arrest.
At Wednesday’s protest, the group, a few of whom were holding white poster board with the words “No Justice No Peace” written in black marker, stated they want the deputies involved fired and charged with attempted murder.
“He was choked, slammed to the ground and put in jail and handcuffed in 10 minutes, after not seeing his mother in 10 years. We are not going to let this go and we will not stand for it,” said NAN Elder James Johnson.
Johnson went on to say members want to sit down with Florence Count Sheriff Kenney Boone and address their concerns, including allegations that two witnesses to the incident haven’t been contacted by law enforcement.
“Choking Mr. Tyler will not go away, not one bit,” Johnson said.
Fleming said he got off a Greyhound bus at East Palmetto Street on Feb. 17 and asked Florence County deputies for directions.
He claimed the deputies were aggressive with him while he remained calm.
“He decided to choke me from behind while I was in handcuffs. He slams me to the ground. He proceeds to still choke me,” Fleming said previously.
The Florence County Sheriff’s Office released a different account of the incident, saying that Fleming resisted arrest and threatened to kill officers while they ran his information.
In a statement, Boone said the FCSO is investigating the to determine what, exactly, happened.
“Once the investigation is concluded, we will report our findings. While that investigation is going on however, we ask that the public reserve judgement until all of the facts are known,” Boone said in a statement.