Dallas police shootings won’t change security plans at Confederate flag rally

The South Carolina Secessionist Party’s rally last year shows supporters gathered to listen to H.K. Edgerton, an African-American Southern heritage activist who carried the Confederate flag in Columbia.

COLUMBIA — Security plans for this Sunday’s re-raising of the Confederate flag during a rally at the Statehouse will remain the same in the wake of the Dallas shooting that left five police officers dead.

Lt. Kelley Hughes of the S.C. Department of Public Safety said the agency already planned to provide enhanced security at Sunday’s rally, in coordination with other local and state law enforcement agencies.

“As with any of the rallies and protests, we don’t discuss specific security plans or measures,” Hughes said in an email. “However, we have assessed the security needs based on the Secessionists Party’s reservations with the Department of Administration and will make adequate security plans to address those needs — including preparations for any counter protesters.”

Dallas Police Chief David Brown blamed snipers for Thursday night’s attack that played out during a Black Lives Matter demonstration. It was called in response to the deaths of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota, who were shot and killed by police.

In Columbia, the S.C. Secessionist Party will raise the Confederate flag at the Statehouse on a portable 30-foot pole and fly it from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. The rally, to mark the one-year anniversary of the flag removal, will include guest speakers and live music. Several hundred attendees are expected to take part, with temperature forecasts calling for a high of 95 degrees.

Meanwhile, The State newspaper in Columbia reported Friday that law enforcement officials investigated six emails sent to Gov. Nikki Haley last year during the flag removal debate as possible threats.

Haley’s office this week released copies of the 10,000 public communications she received in the aftermath of the Emanuel AME Church shooting and subsequent Statehouse debate on removing the rebel banner.

The State Law Enforcement Division has so far made no arrests related to the emails, the newspaper said, quoting a state official.

For more information about the rally, go to www.facebook.com/events/609165452568415.

Reach Maya T. Prabhu at 843-509-8933.