COLUMBIA, SC — As protests continue following the violent death of George Floyd at the hands of police, other Governors have refused to unleash their national guards on American streets, against the American people. However, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster is now complicit in helping Donald Trump militarize our nation’s capital. According to reports, over 400 soldiers from the South Carolina National Guard have been activated and deployed to Washington, DC. This was prompted by a direct request to South Carolina from the White House.
That our Governor has decided to rubber stamp Trump’s failed approach to quelling violence in American cities is telling. McMaster should be using this moment to bring cops and communities together to find common ground. South Carolina and our nation need heartfelt leadership able to unify people and address the racial inequities compelling citizens to exercise their first amendment rights to peacefully assemble. Yet, Governor McMaster has heartily echoed, Trump’s calls to “dominate”, or get tougher with protesters, by criminalizing them through increased arrests and prosecutions.
Lawmakers, including the entire South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus, have put out tangible steps the State can take to make actual reforms when it comes to ending police brutality in communities of color. They include and are not limited to:
Passing a hate crimes bill
Repealing South Carolina’s Citizens Arrest Law
Amend or repeal state laws that create disparities and perpetuate disrcimination
Create penalties for police officers who remove, do not use body cameras or lose the data
Governor McMaster could easily lead moving any of these direct legislative actions through the Statehouse with bipartisan support. McMaster could use this as a chance to show South Carolinians he doesn’t recklessly follow Donald Trump. His refusal to do so is all the evidence we need to encourage voters to elect Democrats in November.