Tensions between civilians, police rise during second day of protests in downtown Columbia

Tensions between civilians, police rise during second day of protests in downtown Columbia
A second day of protesting against police brutality happened Sunday at the State House in Columbia. (Source: WIS)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A second day of protesting against police brutality happened Sunday in downtown Columbia.

Black Lives Matter organized the protest, which was scheduled to happen at the State House from 2 to 4 p.m.

WATCH LIVE:

Protest in downtown Columbia start to escalate as 6 p.m. curfew draws near >>> https://bit.ly/3gExvEt

Posted by WIS TV on Sunday, May 31, 2020

Tear gas was deployed several times during the protest.

The first time was shortly after 2 p.m., when protesters began a spontaneous march toward the headquarters for the Columbia Police Department.

They said that was not planned.

As they marched in the streets, they were met by a line of police in riot gear.

Protesters got close to that line, and tear gas was deployed.

CPD said they have the area around their headquarters blocked off.

WIS news crews saw at least two rounds of tear gas being deployed and heard police yell, “You are in violation of curfew.”

After the tear gas was deployed near CPD Headquarters protesters left the area and returned to the State House.

They started to chant, “We will breathe.”

As of 5 p.m., protesters who were gathered at the State House started marching into downtown.

It’s not clear where they were headed, but officials asked them to remain at the State House or go home.

At some point, tensions between police and protesters escalated again, and tear gas was deployed again.

As of 6 p.m. one person has been arrested. The reason for the arrest is unknown at this time.

Protesters who spoke with WIS said they were being peaceful.

Event organizers told WIS they are preparing a list of demands to give to local law enforcement.

This story will be updated to include those when they are finalized.

Organizers invited Mayor Steve Benjamin, Chief Skip Holbrook, and Sheriff Leon Lott.

Benjamin hosted a 2 p.m. emergency meeting of the city council which was announced before the time for Sunday’s protest was finalized.

Leaders of the protests told WIS that the violence seen Saturday was not planned and rather caused by outside agitators who do not represent Black Lives Matter.

Before protests began Sunday, Richland County deputies and officers with the Columbia Police Department came together to pray for peaceful protests.

Deputies and Columbia Police Department, SC officers share a moment of prayer, as they brace for another day of protest...

Posted by Richland County Sheriff's Department on Sunday, May 31, 2020

This story will be updated.

Copyright 2020 WIS. All rights reserved.