CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Businesses in Downtown Charleston are bracing for potential protests following the announcement of the verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd last May.
Following Floyd’s death, protests broke out across the nation and many spiraled into riots, including here in the Lowcountry.
Restaurants and businesses on King street were broken into, set on fire, and vandalized, a harsh blow amid a year of difficulties due to the pandemic.
Now, business owners are hopeful that with Chauvin found guilty on all counts, protests will remain peaceful.
Ken Schneider, who owns Uncork Charleston, says that if things get out of hand this time, his business may not be able to recover:
“To be honest, after the pandemic and being destroyed once, you know, the third time will be the charm for me no matter how good the business is. This was my fun project and I love doing it, and my heart and soul is in it, but it’s not worth damaging me physically and mentally any more than it has.”
Following the damage done in the May riots, the Charleston Police Department stepped up communication with local businesses, keeping them informed of potential unrest.