CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Several activist groups that support the Black Lives Matter movement came together in a press conference to discuss demands they have for the City of Charleston.
According to the activist groups, this press conference comes after an incident on Sunday, July 5 where they say a confederate flagger struck a young man several times with his flag pole prior to being forcefully sopped by a counter protester.
The groups have protested at the Battery every weekend and said they have a few demands for the Charleston Police Department and the City of Charleston.
The demands are as follows:
- Remove and deny any exhibition displaying the Confederate battle flag on city property. Follow in the direction of the Department of Defense. It is already recognized that this flag is non-patriotic and treasonous to our Nation as it stands. It is also a sign of hatred and offensive to many in the community of Charleston.
- Make Changes to the Picketing Ordinance; remove the use of over-sized flags (greater than 3×6) as well as the use of flag poles in all events and displays. Both permitted or not.
- We call for the City Council and Mayor to stop spending money in “over policing” and focus on ensuring the police are properly policing. We have brought several issues to the table from the past few weeks alone that are key to need for proper policing. Somehow, failing to mention the amount of police activity that has been used during these, from our part, peaceful protest. Now we, the communities of Charleston, are funding heightened SWAT and SLED activity for regular patrol across our city and county.
- Ensure the permitting Codes are followed even when functions are removed from the city offices and placed in the hands of the Law Enforcement Department. There are several reasons why Flags Across The South and We The People should never be issued a permit in the city of Charleston again. We can start with the public disruptions caused by their displays. Then, there is the amount of law enforcement resources needed to handle this protest week after week. The refusal of the groups to wear face coverings to stop the covid spread, or the number of violent incidents from members and supporters of their groups. Violent incidents that lead to arrest and legal actions.
- Finally, we demand that this display in particular stops out of respect to the community and community cornerstones. This flag was tied to a young man that ravaged a cornerstone of the black community right here in Charleston. The City came together for this tragedy, expressed condolences and said never again will this happen in our city. The Confederate Battle Flag, seen glorified as a sign of white supremacy by Dylann Roof and many others, now on display in parade or exhibition. This is happening just blocks away from the Mother Emanuel AME Church. That is not Charleston Strong and that does not represent our City or culture.
News 2 reached out to the City of Charleston and they issued the following statement:
“As the courts have made clear, flying a flag under these circumstances is constitutionally protected free speech that the city cannot ban or otherwise suppress. The city of Charleston will continue to work to ensure that all citizens, regardless of their views, are able to exercise their First Amendment rights safely.”Susan Herdina, City of Charleston Attorney
News 2 has also reached out to the Charleston Police Department, but have yet to receive a comment.
We will make sure to update you as soon as more details and statements are available.