Deploring the unconscionable brutality witnessed during the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis Minnesota – and vowing to protect those protesting peacefully against it – law enforcement and prosecutorial leaders in South Carolina nonetheless threw down a major gauntlet against violent rioters on Tuesday.
More importantly, they made it clear they are going to be targeting the criminal organizations supporting the recent, rampant lawlessness …
During a conference call held at 9:30 a.m. EDT on Tuesday morning (June 2, 2020), S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson, U.S. attorney Peter McCoy and S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) chief Mark Keel pledged a “coordinated crackdown” against the violence that rocked the Palmetto State over the weekend.
It was the first confab of federal, state and local law enforcement (and federal and state prosecutors) in response to the riots, with the objective being the creation of a “cohesive framework” for investigating the violence, identifying those responsible for it and holding them (and their supporters) accountable.
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Specifically, we are told Wilson (above) and officials in his office pledged the full resources of the statewide grand jury – which has investigatory power over domestic terrorism and gang-related activities as well as criminal activity that crosses county lines.
“Protesters who attacked others or who damaged property or looted may have been arrested and charged for those crimes but we want to look into whether they’re part of any larger, organized groups that are instigating violence,” Wilson said in a statement. “Arresting the individuals is like mowing weeds. They’re gone temporarily, but to get rid of the weeds you have to pull them up by the roots.”
Meanwhile, McCoy and his office pledged to continue supporting state and local efforts with the full resources of the federal justice system – assisting in the investigation, apprehension and prosecution of those who crossed state lines to either participate in the riots or support those doing the rioting.
“We have a long tradition of working with our federal, state, and local partners to combat crime across South Carolina,” McCoy said. “We will use that partnership to identify and prosecute those who instigate violence and prevent others from exercising their constitutional rights.”
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Yesterday, McCoy’s office indicated it was working with state and local law enforcement to identify the “instigators” of the violence – which caused extensive damage in the capital city of Columbia, S.C. and the historic city of Charleston, S.C.
The damage in Charleston was particularly pronounced, in part because city officials allegedly permitted the rioting to continue despite receiving numerous 9-1-1 calls from panicked business owners and patrons who were caught up in the melee.
The collaborative investigatory and prosecutorial framework outlined by McCoy, Wilson, Keel and other participants on the Tuesday call is just one facet of the response to the rioting.
U.S. attorney general William Barr has already vowed a national investigation into the violence that has swept the nation in recent days, with a specific focus on domestic terrorist organizations like Antifa.
“Federal law enforcement actions will be directed at apprehending and charging the violent radical agitators who have hijacked peaceful protest and are engaged in violations of federal law,” Barr said on Sunday.
Count on this news outlet to keep our readers apprised as to these efforts … which we applaud. Justice must be pursued in the case of Derek Chauvin – the Minneapolis police officer who was caught on camera suffocating Floyd with a knee to the back of his neck. But it must also be pursued for those who have hijacked the peaceful protests of his deplorable crime.