About 20 protesters held up signs and made speeches Friday outside the Charleston County judicial center in downtown Charleston, demanding that 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson find someone else to prosecute the white North Charleston police officer who shot a fleeing black man in the back.
The protesters said they will continue holding protests every day until she steps down from the case. They want her replaced with a solicitor from outside the area.
Wilson did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment but has previously rejected a similar demand from the group.
Thomas Dixon of The Coalition: People United To Take Back Our Community, who organized the protest, read a statement explaining the group’s concerns.
“In several of the previous cases of this type that she has overseen, there have been far too many ‘questionable circumstances’ left on the table at the end of the investigations, and police officers involved in these shootings returning to duty, leaving a community to wonder whether or not justice had truly been served by the 9th Circuit Solicitor’s Office and Solicitor Wilson,” he said.
A Charleston County deputy stood in the background, and a Charleston police cruiser was parked nearby. The protesters kept the sidewalk clear so people could walk through, although some pedestrians were wary and walked around in the street.
Every once in a while, the group would break into a chant, “Hey, Scarlett, take a hike.”
After many of the same protesters gathered outside the judicial center on April 23 to demand Wilson step down, she released a statement saying it remained her mission “to seek justice ... in a reasonable, honest and efficient manner” and that she has been working with the Scott family to seek justice. The solicitor is an elected office.
Wilson previously announced that the S.C. Supreme Court had assigned a judge outside the area, 3rd Circuit Judge Clifton Newman, to handle the case from start to finish.
James Johnson, leader of the local chapter of the National Action Network, took the opportunity to criticize Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen’s strategy to round up teens who went on a rampage after a party at the Charleston YWCA on Saturday night. Johnson said it wasn’t right for Mullen to use the “hand of one, hand of all” doctrine to say that any teen who doesn’t come forward to identify those who caused trouble could also be arrested on mob violence charges because it could ruin the lives of innocent young black people.
Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.