Attorney General Wilson meets with federal, state, and local law enforcement to coordinate response to violence during protests

(COLUMBIA, S.C.) – June 2, 2020 – South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson this morning held the first meeting with federal, state, and local law enforcement to coordinate the state’s efforts to address violence during recent protests around the state and prevent further violence. They met by conference call.

“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,” Attorney General Wilson said. “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.”

The Attorney General’s Office is coordinating its efforts with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, State Law Enforcement Division, local law enforcement, and solicitors around the state so they can share information in real time about anyone arrested during protests. The State Law Enforcement Division, working with the FBI, will then investigate the backgrounds of those individuals to see if they are part of any extremist groups or gangs that may be instigating violence.

“Our main priorities are to protect the lives of the protesters, the police who are there to keep order, and the lives and property of local business owners and their employees. People are understandably angry about the death of George Floyd and they need to be able to protest peacefully without having to worry about whether someone is going to throw a brick or Molotov cocktail that might hit them,” Attorney General Wilson said. “We’re committed to protecting everyone’s First Amendment right to assemble and protest, but for those who instigate violence we’re also committed to prosecuting them to the fullest extent of the law, and to root out anyone who’s organizing or instigating that violence.”

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