Five demonstrators were arrested in downtown Greenville Saturday night after protest routes began to interfere with traffic, according to the Greenville Police Department.
The Greenville Police reportedly met with Black Lives Matter organizers to ensure Saturday’s rally would not cause traffic problems or disrupt downtown events, like Jazz on Main, which happened Friday night.
According to the report, the initial gathering and demonstration was “peaceful and orderly, but deteriorated as demonstrators refused to remain on the sidewalks, flooded the streets, and blocked sidewalks, businesses, and intersections.”
Officers began to take action when around 150 people involved in the protests blocked major roads downtown, including Church St. and Beattie Place.
Greenville Police then report that as they started to make arrests for the blocked roadway, protesters declared they intended to “completely shut down I-385”, moving from Church St. towards the highway.
The group moving towards the highway was stopped by law enforcement at the intersection of Academy St. and I-385. There were multiple individuals that attempted to push past the line of police, sheriff’s deputies, and Highway Patrol officers at that intersection.
This action resulted in arrests and the remaining demonstrators were disbanded, according to the Greenville Police report.
A Taser was used against a demonstrator “who was actively fighting and choking a Greenville Police Officer”. Other than injuries that are associated with Taser use, no other injuries were reported by demonstrators or law enforcement.
There were five people arrested in the demonstrations. Their names and charges are listed below:
Derrick Quarles, 29 has been charged with Creating a Public Nuisance, three counts of Pedestrian in Roadway, and there was an unrelated felony warrant for Obtaining Goods by False Pretense.
Dexter Scarborough, 23 has been charged with Attempted Murder, Assault and Battery on Police while Resisting Arrest, Pedestrian in Roadway, and Disorderly Conduct.
Brandon Johnson, 31, Tenealya Littlejohn, 26, and Shatercia Neal, 25 have all been charged with Pedestrian in Roadway, Disorderly Conduct, and Resisting Arrest.
The Greenville Police Department would like to make note that Saturday’s protest “exceeded legal limitations, moved beyond the realm of sharing protected speech, and endangered adults and children.”
Since both Friday and Saturday saw disregard for requests to safely demonstrate, refusal to leave private property and disrupting traffic as well as city events, the Greenville Police Department says they will manage future demonstrations in line with the City’s picketing ordinance.
Here is a direct statement on the situation from the Greenville Police Department:
“In the midst of grieving for the victims of our recent tragedies, and at a time when police and community should be coming together on common ground to seek solutions, it is disappointing that the protesters were unwilling to commit to peaceful and orderly demonstrations.
The Greenville Police Department is dedicated to policing fairly and impartially. We will continue working with our communities to ensure that they are safe places to live, work, and visit, ensuring that all within our City are treated with dignity and respect. To be successful, we will continue to need the cooperation and support of our community.”