COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) – Governor Henry McMaster and several other South Carolina leaders responded to protests in the state during a press conference on Sunday.
Their announcements come after South Carolina cities saw protests in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis this week.
Demonstrations escalated in Columbia and Charleston especially, leaving 12 Columbia Police offers injured Saturday’s night, according to the the Columbia Police Department.
Gov. McMaster welcomed peaceful protesting, but said the National Guard is ready to respond to violence if needed.
“We understand the anger. We understand the concern. We understand the bitterness. But we also understand that innocent people … should not be punished or hurt or property destroyed,” Gov. McMaster said. “We are prepared. We are prepared for hurricanes. We are prepared for tornadoes… we’re also prepared to stop violence.”
Gov. McMaster was joined by Sen. Tim Scott, SCNAACP President Brenda Murphy, law enforcement officials, James McLawhorn of the Columbia Urban League and faith leaders including Bishop Samuel L. Green of AME churches in S.C.