MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – On Sunday, local law enforcement came together with protesters to coordinate a march across the Ravenel Bridge to condemn police brutality and racism, and honor George Floyd, who died at the hands of a former Minnesota police officer. Mount Pleasant Police Department (MPPD) Chief, Carl Ritchie, has been an outspoken advocate for protecting the rights of all citizens; his support for his words shown by his actions, captured in a powerful photo.
Chief Ritchie took a stand against injustices by taking a knee with a protester on Sunday. Gee Jordan, whose arrest while kneeling in Marion Square was captured in a now viral video, reportedly asked Chief Ritchie to kneel with him following Sunday’s walk. Despite being arrested during a peaceful protest just last week, Jordan said to Chief Ritchie “I have so much respect for you and the men and women who were here today to protect us!” Chief Ritchie knelt with Jordan, in what he described as a moment of “two human beings showing each other mutual respect.”
Chief Ritchie was quick to condemn the actions of the former officer who killed George Floyd early on, reminding officers of the MPPD that he will not tolerate misuse of force in an email on May 28. He reminded his staff “we all took an oath to protect and serve our citizens. Does that mean we may have to use force while carrying out our duties, of course it does. That is why we train regularly to ensure the amount of force is appropriate for the situation. We must remember that when the cuffs go on the fight is over!!”
He maintained that sentiment when discussing the photo with Jordan, which some have labeled as controversial. However, Chief Ritchie refuses to relent on condemning what he sees as a stain on his profession:
“If you are a police offer and have a problem with this…turn your badge in! I promise you if I identify any police officer having an issue with mutual respect I will personally pull the badge from your chest! The honorable profession I have proudly served for over 36 years as a civilian and in the military will not be tarnished!”
Chief Ritchie also addressed criticism from the some members of the public, which came in the form of “hate email and other social media comments about submitting to a protester.” He believes that anyone who sees a problem with the photo is part of the problem, saying “I took an oath to protect ALL people equally and I will never betray my oath!”