CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston leaders are assessing what they learned from the riots on May 30th on King Street downtown, and for the first time, we are hearing what police officers did throughout the night.
Police were largely criticized by the community for their response, and now they want the public to listen and make their own judgement on how the night played out.
Officials say that at no time in the audio recording, was a “stand down” order issued.
The following summary of events is synthesized from a Memo provided by the City of Charleston.
The audio recording starts at around 2:00 in the afternoon when peaceful protests started in downtown Charleston and lasted until roughly 4:00 p.m.
From 4:00-5:00 p.m. the peaceful protest continues, however additional agencies are called in to assist the Charleston Police Department after an act of vandalism and a disturbance.
From the 5:00- 6:00 p.m. hour, the protests are still largely peaceful however the glass of one Mt. Pleasant police vehicle is destroyed, and some new acts of graffiti at businesses are noticed. At that time, command is aware a large rain storm appears to be coming and officers are advised that this will help break up the crowds.
Once it starts to rain at 5:30 p.m., much of the crowd does disperse.
From 6:00-7:00 p.m. a smaller crowd makes their way to the Ravenel bridge, some protesters walk up exit ramps, and the bridge is shut down to vehicular traffic.
From 7:00-8:00 p.m. protesters make their way back downtown, and head towards the City Markets.
At 8:00 p.m., the rioting begins as people start to flip tables, smash windows, and throw objects at law enforcement officers and citizens.
From 9:00-10:00 p.m. the rioters move towards King Street where they continue to be destructive. More law enforcement units continue to arrive to help with the response efforts.
Law enforcement worked at that time to push rioters North, sweeping streets as they went and clearing them. During this time officers call in reports of fires, vandalism and continued violence and looting.
By 3:00 a.m. all rioters are pushed out of the Peninsula, and several arrests were made.
After this timeline was reviewed by the committee, Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said it was not easy to relive the events of that night:
“I share with this committee, and all of our citizens that the night of May 30th is for Charleston a collective worst nightmare. I think now about May 30th as I would a Category 5 hurricane.”Mayor John Tecklenburg
Mayor Tecklenburg also said he encourages members of the community to ask any questions they may have about the tapes, and they will find the answers.
Listen here to the full audio at your discretion: