CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Business owners are taking steps towards recovery replacing broken windows after a weekend of unrest. Many of those same business owners are criticizing the response of the city and it’s police department.
On Monday we took the concerns of business owners to City of Charleston Police Chief Luther Reynolds who says his department was prepared and followed protocol. On Tuesday, City of Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg says he understands the frustrations of business owners but defends the city’s response.
“The protection of life was first, was the first order of business,” says Mayor Tecklenburg. “Then the overall safety of our city and then property.”
Mayor Tecklenburg says he’s proud there was no loss of life or serious injuries but says he understands the frustrations of business owners.
“Well if I were in their shoes I’d be upset with me too and our police department,” says Mayor Tecklenburg.
Mayor Tecklenburg says he has was working hand in hand with law enforcement during Saturday’s protests and says he has full confidence in the city’s police chief.
“These are some of the tactics that some, that are appropriate in a riot and unfortunately it left an area of upper king street unguarded,” says Mayor Tecklenburg.
Mayor Tecklenburg says while violent protests will not be condoned, he says city leaders are encouraging peaceful protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
“Peaceful protests are welcome, we want people to be heard, their feelings about what happened in Minneapolis,” says Mayor Tecklenburg. “We just need to ensure and will not tolerate a conversion of violence.”
As businesses begin to tear down plywood and replace windows, the mayor says he’s finding hope through a difficult time.
“I acknowledge folks are upset, we’re picking up the pieces, we will make amends,” says Mayor Tecklenburg. “We’re going to get back in business and Charleston is going to continue to be the great city that we love.”
Mayor Tecklenburg and Police Chief Luther Reynolds both say unity is the best path forward to bring the community and city back together.