The Daily Gamecock

Protesters march from governor's mansion to Statehouse, announce demands

Protesters stated their demands at this afternoon’s protest outside the South Carolina governor’s mansion before leading a march to the Statehouse where a rally was held.

Lila Papadakis’ 13-year-old daughter led the crowd in singing Amazing Grace outside the mansion.

Shortly after, Papadakis and her family were among the hundreds who stopped traffic as they marched down Laurel and Main Street to the Statehouse.

“It’s a whole new day in South Carolina, that we’re finding Caucasian people standing up for African American lives on the Statehouse,” Papadakis said. “A lot of racism was reflected here.”

The list of eight demands read in front of the Statehouse included requiring body and dash cams for all officers, with public footage stored for a minimum two years.

Protesters also called for banning the use of military-grade weaponry by police and restrictions on using federal grant money to purchase military equipment.

“There is no need to turn our local police department into the military,” protest organizer Lawrence Nathaniel said.

Head football coach Will Muschamp and the football team were a part of the crowd, attending by unanimous decision, according to sophomore quarterback Ryan Hilinski, who wore a shirt reading “Match Me.”

As the rally continued, Zeta Phi Beta sorority member Khalaya Brown handed out water and snacks with other volunteers. Brown said her sorority issued a call to action when the protests first started to encourage participation.

“Silence is no longer an option. You have to be loud, and you have to be vocal because things aren’t getting better,” she said. “It’s time for everyone to step up and do what you can. If you feel like it’s wrong, you have to show it.”

Accountability was another demand of protesters, who called for “de-escalation and minimizing use of force.” Police officers should intervene when their colleagues are being brutal, they said.

“You uphold justice,” said a protestor, “not your police station.”

Roderick Haynes Jr. was one of the protestors standing along the edge of the steps holding a Black Lives Matter sign. Haynes said he has been participating in the protests since they began on Saturday.

“This is important to me because I’m a black man living in America,” he said. “I’ve been racially profiled and stereotyped. I’ve had my house surrounded just because they thought I was a suspect that they were looking for.”

Protestors said police officers should also have “rigorous and sustained training,” calling for cops to be in training “longer than a beautician.”

In South Carolina, the basic law enforcement training program is 12 weeks. Cosmetologists, by contrast, are required to have 1,500 hours of training, which is 37 and a half 40-hour work weeks.

House minority leader Todd Rutherford addressed the crowd after the list was read, formally accepting the demands of the protesters.

“Why are there only eight things on this list?” he said. “Number nine should be ‘Stop telling us there are no bad apple cops.’”

The crowd then moved to stand along Gervais Street, as they have every day since Saturday, facing the officers across them and chanting “Black lives matter.”

“This isn’t going to stop. After we’re finished with police brutality, we’re coming for education. We’re coming for anything else we feel is not right for African American, black people,” Haynes said. “I don’t think things will ever go back to normal. We’re going to continue to fight for equal justice.”