Protesters demand justice for Jamal Sutherland hours after City of Charleston changes permitting process

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Cries of protestors ringing out across Downtown Charleston hours after city leaders voted to change the rules on what protestors are allowed to do and how to obtain a permit.
Earlier this week, Solicitor Scarlett Wilson announced her decision not to charge deputies in the death of a Charleston County inmate.

Emotions still running high after the solicitors decision and the group that gathered and marched on King Street Thursday night says change is needed now.

Thursday night’s protest coming on the heels of Charleston City Council making changes to the way protests are permitted in the city. Those on the streets say it won’t stop them from continuing to make their voices heard.

Months of protests and rallies demanding justice in the death of Jamal Sutherland hitting the streets of Downtown Charleston.

“There is a racial bias in this city,” says Justin Hunt of Charleston Stand As One. “Whether you’re black, purple, brown, green or orange.”

Charleston City Council changed the way permits are issued, setting defined boundaries, establishing penalties and laying out a clearer way to obtain a permit. Councilman Ross Appel says it’s a needed change.

“And I mean enough is enough,” says Councilman Ross Appel. “You’re not going to spit on our cops, you’re not going to carry around guns at these events and that’s unacceptable.”

Things getting heated between protesters and law enforcement just three days ago led to three arrests. The new ordinance requires groups of more than 25 participants to submit for a permit. The hope for city leaders is to make it safer for demonstrators and onlookers.

“This is what we have to do as a city to keep our citizens, our businesses and our officers safe,” says Councilman Appel.

But not everyone agrees with the changes. Activist Justin Hunt says the new ordinance is just another way to make it hard to express the first amendment right.

“This is the same ordinance that they passed today that’s also restricting our rights and we’re still not letting this stop us,” says Hunt.

Determined to get justice in the death of Jamal Sutherland no matter the cost, marching along the streets of the Holy City.

“When will everyone be able to do the same things within our legal rights,” says Hunt.

Hunt says he plans to hold similar protests in and around the City of Charleston to not only demand justice in the death of Jamal Sutherland but to express his first amendment right.

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