COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - For the seventh day in the row, protesters are taking to the streets of Columbia to call for an end to police brutality.
Protesters are gathering at the governor’s mansion at 2 p.m. Friday and plan to march to the State House. This is being organized by Black Lives Matter.
Around 2:15 p.m., there were already hundreds of people gathered. Organizers said they expected 1,000 people during the event, which is scheduled to last until 7 p.m.
About 1,000 people had joined the group by the time they reached the State House.
Among the crowd were UofSC football coach Will Muschamp and numerous college athletes.
Organizers told WIS they wanted to deliver a list of demands to the governor and state lawmakers. They started reading some of their demands out loud at the protest around 2:30 p.m.
They first called for a law requiring the use of body cameras and dash cams and policies governing the use of both.
Protesters want that footage to be stored externally so district attorneys and civilian oversight groups can access the video. They called for transparency and a quick release of videos as public information whenever there is use of force by officers.
The next demand was for police departments to not use federal grant money for military-type vehicles or weapons.
Protesters then called for police to invest in quarterly training for officers on topics such as use of force, deescalating, implicit bias, mediation, relationship-based policing, and how to engage with people from marginalized groups such as LGBTQA, differently abled people, those whose do not speak English or speak it as a second language, and people from different religious backgrounds.
“Our demand is that a police officer or peace officer must go to school or a police academy for longer than a beautician has to go to school in order to do hair,” Mpunelele “Lalo” Bellamy, a protest organizer, said. “Because you have so many laws to learn, so many different things to learn.”
Protesters also called for officers to hold other officers accountable by intervening if another officer is using excessive force.
“You are the police, you uphold justice, even when your fellow police officer is breaking the law” organizer Demetrius Hill said. “You uphold justice -- not your police station, but justice.”
Protesters also said any court settlements related to police misconduct should be paid out of the budget for the police department. They said no money from the city’s general fund should be given to police if the department goes over budget.
This is not an exhaustive list of the demands made by protesters. Read a more detailed list of demands at the bottom of this story.
The crowd started marching toward the State House around 2:45 p.m.
As the protest went on, it grew. WIS crews estimated about 1,000 people were a part of the group as they marched to the State House.
When they got to the State House, State Rep. Todd Rutherford, D-Richland County, met protesters and briefly addressed the crowd.
He then said he wanted to hear the list of demands. One organizer then read the full list of demands.
After the full list of demands was read, several people started to leave the State House, but some protesters remain as of 4 p.m.
A few protesters marched down Main Street later in the evening around 7 p.m. before finally leaving the area.
Using Military Weaponry
Restrict police departments from:
- Using federal grant money to purchase military equipment (Ex: Montana Law)
- Deploying armored vehicles, weaponized aircraft, drones, Stingray surveillance equipment, camouflage uniforms and grenade launchers
- Using SWAT teams unless there is an emergency situation or imminent threat to life and high-ranking officers have given approval (Ex: Cincinnati PD Policy)
- Conducting no-knock raids (Ex: Oregon Law bans all no-knock raids)
- Accessing federal grant money or purchasing military equipment if the department has been recently found to demonstrate a “pattern or practice” of discriminatory policing
- In addition to these restrictions, wherever possible agencies should seek to return to the federal government the military equipment that has already been received (Ex: San Jose)
We demand the State of South Carolina require all members of state-county-city law-enforcement to undergo training -- including scenario-based training -- on the following topics on at least a quarterly basis and involve the community, including youth of color, in their design and implementation:
- Implicit bias
- Procedural justice
- Relationship-based policing
- Community interaction
- Crisis intervention, mediation, conflict resolution and rumor control
- Appropriate engagement with youth
- Appropriate engagement with LGBTQ, transgender and gender non-comforming individuals
- Appropriate engagement with individuals who are English language learners
- Appropriate engagement with individuals from different religious affiliations
- Appropriate engagement with individuals who are differently abled
- De-escalation and minimizing the use of force
Require by law the use of body cameras, in addition to dashboard cameras, and establish policies governing their use to:
- Record all interactions with subjects who have not requested to be kept anonymous.
- Notify subjects that they have the option to remain anonymous and stop recording/storing footage if they choose this option.
- Allow civilians to review footage of themselves or their relatives and request this be released to the public and stored for at least two years.
- Require body and dash cam footage to be stored externally and ensure district attorneys and civilian oversight structures have access to the footage.
- Require police departments, whenever they want to deny a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for body or dash cam footage, to prove in court that the footage constitutes a legitimate FOIA exemption (Ex: Illinois House Bill 4355)
- Permanently delete footage after six months if this footage hasn’t been specifically requested to be stored.
- Include a disciplinary matrix clearly defining consequences for officials who fail to adhere to the agency's body camera policy.
Limit fines and fees for low-income people
Pass Policies requiring local governments to:
- Ban issuing fines or arrest warrants for civilians who fail to appear in court for a traffic citation (Ex: Ferguson Policy)
- Ban generating more than 10% of total municipal revenue from fines and fees (Ex: Missouri Law)
- Allow judges discretion to wave fines and fees for low income people or initiate payment plans (Ex: Pennsylvania Law)
- Prohibit courts from ordering individuals on parole or probation to pay supervision fees and other correctional fees
Prevent police from taking the money or property of innocent people
Prohibit police from:
- Seizing property of civilians (I.e. Civil forfeiture) unless they are convicted of a crime and the state establishes by clear and convincing evidence that the property is subject to forfeiture
- Keeping any property that has legally been forfeited (Instead, this property should go to a general fund)