CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The City of Charleston Police Department is responding to criticism from this weekends protests and riots which led to destruction in the Downtown Charleston area.
Many of the business owners along King Street and around Charleston criticized the police department for it’s response to protests that broke out leading to significant damage at several locations.
“And no police presence I’m sorry, there’s none,” said one business owner on King Street. “I don’t know what to say.”
“We called 9-1-1 ten times over the course of a three hour period, no one responded at all,” says another business owner on King Street.
On Monday City of Charleston Police Chief Luther Reynolds responded to those criticisms from business owners saying he is hurt by the destruction.
“We could not be in all those places at every time,” says Chief Reynolds. “We could not respond to all those calls.”
Chief Reynolds says he estimates that law enforcement received at least triple the amount of calls over the weekend than on a normal weekend.
“I think we had 920 calls in a very short period of time,” says Chief Reynolds. “So we have to triage, that’s what we do. People don’t like that, I don’t like that. That’s just the reality.”
Business owners say they could be looking at damage more permanent than just broken glass.
“And I am devastated that some of our business owners won’t even reopen, some of them were so devastated already and this was enough to crush them,” says Chief Reynolds.
Chief Reynolds says he understands the frustration from business owners affected during the protests.
“If I was a business owner and I had my windows broken out and I called 9-1-1 and nobody came I wouldn’t be happy either,” says Chief Reynolds.
Chief Reynolds tells me law enforcement is still working to identify additional suspects through video and social media and says additional arrests are possible. One of the things Chief Reynolds says he’s happy about is that there was no loss of life or severe injuries to either people or police.