SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) – Peaceful protests are planned for the Town of Summerville on Monday.
Businesses spent much of the day on Sunday boarding up and securing property, and law enforcement staged vehicles around town in anticipation of the demonstrations.
Dozens of protesters marched from the Walmart on North Main Street to Hutchinson Square, where they chanted in protest of injustice and police brutality.
It stems from the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African American man who died in police custody in Minnesota. Floyd is believed to have died after now-fired officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck, allegedly cutting off Floyd’s air supply.
Video of the scene was captured on video and went viral on social media. Chauvin was later arrested and charged with Floyd’s murder. Three other officers were fired but have not yet been arrested.
Organizers for the planned peaceful protests told News 2 on Sunday they do not want violence during their planned protests in Summerville on Monday and denounced any relation to the riots that took place in downtown Charleston Saturday night.
Leaders with the Town of Summerville issued a curfew which went into effect Sunday at 6:00 p.m. and lasted until 6:00 a.m. Monday.
They also encouraged businesses all businesses in the area of Main St. to close or completely secure their properties and parking lots by removing any furniture or debris in anticipation for the demonstrations.
“The Town of Summerville fully respects the rights of individuals to peacefully protest,” the town said in a release on Sunday. “The Town and its partners are prepared for any potential protest/march. The Police Department will be assisted by surrounding local, state, and federal agencies to work to ensure the safety of peaceful protesters.”
Officials say criminal activity and destruction of property will not be tolerated.
“The Summerville Police Department fully supports and will protect your constitutional right to peacefully assemble and protest; however, if one chooses to step out of line and break the law, they will be placed under arrest and criminally charged immediately,” Summerville PD said in a press release Monday morning.
Dorchester County Sheriff L.C. Knight also released a statement on the planned protests saying in part:
“This is everyone’s opportunity to participate in a peaceful protest and to get the avenues of communication open between everyone. Please do not let anger override emotions and let protests disintegrate to violence and property damage.”
Peaceful protests are expected to begin at 2:00 p.m. in Hutchinson Square. A curfew will be in effect Monday at 6:00 p.m. until Tuesday at 6:00 a.m.
Town Hall and the Annex Building will close to the public at 3 p.m.