Charleston-area FOP issues warning against ‘professional race agitators’ after shooting by cop

A group representing police officers is warning people not to listen to “professional race agitators” after the recent shooting of an unarmed black man by a white North Charleston police officer.

“Do not allow the professional race agitators to seize this moment to advance their often self-serving opinions of what is wrong in South Carolina,” John Blackmon, president of FOP Lodge #3, said in a statement Thursday night. “Do not allow them to bemoan the lack of trust of police by the minority community. Do not allow them to beat down the hard working men and women of the Lowcountry’s Law Enforcement.”

Blackmon said the shooting has “spurred much anti-police rhetoric.”

He urged people not to let their perceptions of police be tainted by negative comments.

“While this shooting is beyond comprehension, the law enforcement officers of the Charleston area are still pinning on their badge every day,” he said. “They go to work to protect communities and defend those who are targets of evil-doers. These dedicated men and women are still responding to calls for help. They are still stopping the drunk driver. They are still protecting our schools. They are still here to serve.”

Blackmon pointed out several examples of police who “put their lives on the line to stop the criminal element from overwhelming our homes and families.”

He cited Charleston Police Officer Terryann Ferguson administering CPR to save a baby’s life; S.C. Trooper M. McDonald using his training to keep a man from bleeding to death; Summerville Officer Ed McCreary performing the Heimlich maneuver to save an Alston Middle School student from dying; Hanahan Officer Travis Dodd pulling people from a burning apartment complex; and North Charleston Officer Hampton Jenkins diving underwater to save a trapped automobile crash victim.

“Do not allow this incident to stereotype the entire law enforcement profession,” Blackmon said. “Officers want to help. All you have to do is let them.”

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.