MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – A demonstration set for Sunday afternoon with the man at the center of a lawsuit that was recently settled for millions of dollars has been cancelled after a meeting with city leaders.
Jonny McCoy, the attorney for Julian Betton, posted to Facebook Sunday morning that the 1 p.m. demonstration has been cancelled after his client met with Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune and other leaders.
A photo accompanied the post showing Betton and Bethune holding hands while the man has his hand on his face.
“Peaceful diplomacy works,” McCoy wrote.
"Mr. Betton is a member of our community, a strong advocate for change and a person who wants, and deserves, to be heard, Bethune later said in a statement. “Today’s meeting was a demonstration that peaceful diplomacy works.”
Bethune also acknowledged Sunday morning’s protest on Ocean Boulevard.
“I am so proud of the way our community voiced their frustrations this morning during a very peaceful protest," she said. "We are a strong and caring community of faith and we will work together to be an example to others.”
McCoy says Betton was shot at 29 times and shot nine times by MBPD officers several years ago and was left paralyzed.
Betton was left paralyzed after being shot nine times by Drug Enforcement officers in 2015 during a raid.
His lawsuit against the city was dismissed earlier this year after an $11.25 million settlement was reached to bring the case to a close.
Sunday’s gathering was meant to be peaceful and allow for people to vocalize their frustrations with the perceived lack of accountability in the case.
McCoy said there are some similarities with the Betton case and that of George Floyd, the man whose death while in the custody of Minnesota police has led to violent protests across the nation.
Mayor Bethune’s full statement can be read below:
"Like our entire community, I have been burdened all week over the horrific and senseless death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
As a mother and grandmother, I’ve been grieving over the violence across our nation. I don’t want my grandsons to grow up in a society where hatred and prejudice still prevails. Our country deserves better, our City deserves better, and our children deserve better.
Our Myrtle Beach Police Department shares in the anger that many in our community are feeling and we support people coming together to share their voices peacefully.
This morning I was involved in a very productive meeting with Julian Betton and his attorney, Jonny McCoy at City Hall. I was blessed to share a few moments with Julian and I listened to his story. That gave me an opportunity to learn about the man he is today and to see the impact that his incident, as well as similar events, have had on him emotionally.
Mr. Betton is a member of our community, a strong advocate for change and a person who wants, and deserves, to be heard. Today’s meeting was a demonstration that peaceful diplomacy works.
I want to say that Julian has been heard and will be part of our path to a better future.
I am committed, along with other members of Council and our Police Department, to working with Julian to tell his story so that others can see that together we can create change by being caring and empathetic.
I am so proud of the way our community voiced their frustrations this morning during a very peaceful protest. We are a strong and caring community of faith and we will work together to be an example to others."