CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Two men who police say possessed weapons during a protest in downtown Charleston over the weekend have appeared in bond court.
According to Inspector Karen Nix with the Charleston Police Department, the two men, identified as Matthew Constantine and Richard Ray, were arrested Saturday night for “unlawfully carrying firearms in a vehicle that had been surrounded by protesters.”
Charleston Police officers were monitoring the Saturday night protest on Meeting and Calhoun Streets when an officer noticed multiple protesters leave the main group and surround Chevrolet truck in a parking lot on Meeting Street.
After dispersing the crowd, officers made contact with the occupants. While speaking with the passenger, Ray, an officer observed an AR-15 lying in plain view in the back seat.
According to a report from Nix, the passenger admitted there were additional handguns in the vehicle. The report stated a second handgun was found in the passenger side door compartment.
The report also stated that Constantine, who was the driver, admitted to offices that he had a handgun concealed in his waistband as well.
A fourth handgun was also located inside the vehicle, and officers located pepper spray, a wooden club, additional magazines, ammunition, knives, and a taser inside the truck.
Neither individual had a concealed carry permit, according to Inspector Nix.
“This officer’s keen observation of his surroundings aided in deescalating a situation that could have turned out much different. Even though a potentially dangerous situation was averted, protesters should never approach vehicles or individuals outside of the protesting group,” said Inspector Nix in her report.
During a bond hearing, Constantine was given a $10,000 bond while Ray was given a $25,000 bond.