Midlands law enforcement ready for planned Black Lives Matter protest

Published: Oct. 1, 2016 at 1:10 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 1, 2016 at 1:19 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Midlands law enforcement agencies are making plans ahead of another protest at the State House.

It's being billed as a "peaceful" protest and again involves members of the Black Lives Matter movement.

In July, a Black Lives Matter protest gathered here and eventually marched from the State House out to Interstate 126. The protest was, in fact, peaceful, compared to the first couple of days in Charlotte following the shooting death of Keith Scott last week. We didn't have arrests in Columbia although there were dozens in Charlotte.

However, authorities say safety is one of their concerns. Ahead of the protest, police say they have to be ready for anything, especially coming off the heels of the extended, and at times problematic, protests in Charlotte.

The Department of Public Safety is leading the law enforcement response and a spokeswoman tells WIS the agency has been coordinating with protest planners to make sure everyone stays safe. She says DPS does not anticipate any issues, however, the exact number of people that will be in attendance is still unknown.

The July protest here drew several hundred to start.

Timing is another issue of concern. The protest is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m., three hours after kickoff for the Carolina-Texas A&M game. Assembly Street is a main route to and from the stadium and there is some possibility that could be an issue with traffic going right past the State House grounds.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott says law enforcement intends to draw a line and use force if necessary to prevent protesters if they try to block traffic.

Copyright 2016 WIS. All rights reserved.