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One night after a Rock Hill demonstration against excessive police force resulted in no arrests, 11 people protesting for the same cause were arrested.
A bulk of the Thursday night arrests occurred around 10 p.m. near the intersection of Dave Lyle Boulevard and Black Street in Rock Hill. The arrests were the result of demonstrations spawned by a Facebook Live video that documented the forceful Wednesday arrests of two Black men.
Per Rock Hill police spokesman Lt. Michael Chavis Thursday night:
▪ Five individuals were charged with public disorderly conduct;
▪ One charged with disorderly conduct;
▪ Two charged with pedestrian in the roadway;
▪ One charged with hindering police;
▪ One was charged with reckless driving
▪ One charged with DUI and “failure to stop for blue lights.”
A crowd began to form around 6 p.m., on the sidewalks outside the city’s police department. The crowd of about 100 then marched onto Main Street and eventually circled around to Fountain Park before heading back to the aforementioned intersection.
The gathering featured several face-offs with police, including one around 8:30 p.m., when at least two protesters were forcefully arrested.
At 10 p.m., about two dozen police officers with shields blocked the entrance to the Rock Hill Police Department parking lot. Many protesters stood on the opposite side of Black Street, listening to speeches and recording the moment on their iPhones.
Then, a firecracker was thrown to an area behind the officers. That led to an arrest. A few minutes later, a protester punched the side mirror on a police car off its hinges.
Meet some protesters in Rock Hill
Earlier in the night, Maegan McBride, of Columbia, paced in front of the line of Rock Hill police in riot gear.
She chanted into a megaphone.
“No justice!” she yelled.
“No peace!” the crowd yelled back.
McBride, who wore a gold necklace with the letters BLM, said she saw the video and felt an urge to come protest.
“Enough is enough,” McBride told The Herald. “When are people going to hold police accountable? You would think that the George Floyd situation … you would think that would shed light on brutality, but apparently you still have officers out here pushing the limits.”
McBride said she came out to protest for her 13-year-old son.
“He’s afraid of the police,” she said. “What am I supposed to tell my son? I stand out here for such a bigger cause that’s happening throughout America — not even just right here in Rock Hill.”
S.C. Rep. John King, who represents Rock Hill, said he came in support of the protesters Thursday night.
“I believe that it is time out for Black people to be assaulted by a gang of white police officers because that’s what I call them,” King told The Herald. “I’m here to support my people who have elected me.”
At one point in the night, King, the only Black member from York County in the state House or Senate, tried to talk peacefully to officers.
“I don’t see these officers walking in my community that I represent, which is heavily African American,” King said. “I don’t see them out there building relationships. When we see them, they’re coming out to beat one of us, to lock us up. And that is not what we are hoping for out of police officers.”
Check back for updates on this developing story.