COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) – South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced on Monday that his office is working on long-term plans to identify groups that want to incite violent protests in the Palmetto State.
Wilson said that he is working closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, state and local law enforcement agencies and local solicitors to coordinate the response to the current threats to the community as people protest against the death of George Floyd.
“Our priorities are to protect people’s lives and property, and we also want to protect the First Amendment rights of the peaceful protesters who want their voices heard,” Wilson said. “For those people who are trying to hijack these protests to instigate violence and destruction, we’ll do everything in our power to hold them accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
Wilson said the short-term efforts are to arrest those who commit violence or vandalism during protests. But the long-term response includes working with local, state and federal partners to see if there are organized groups involved in instigating the violence or property damage, whether it’s white supremacists, gangs, Antifa or some other group.
“We should stand together in support of a citizen’s or community’s right to peacefully protest and voice their anger without fear of being caught up in violence instigated by others. We should all stand together in condemning the violent and destructive actions of those who are exploiting a tragedy so that they can justify vandalism, theft, and absolute lawlessness. There is no justification for destroying or stealing someone else’s property. There is no justification for threatening innocent people and we will not tolerate it,” Wilson said.