Here is the latest South Carolina news from The Associated Press at 5:40 a.m.

AP Top News

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Civil liberties advocates in South Carolina are calling on some of the state’s law enforcement agencies to explain and apologize for what they’re calling a “violent escalation” by officers during weekend demonstrations against police mistreatment of African Americans. State American Civil Liberties Union director Frank Knaack sent a letter to four Charleston-area law enforcement agencies and the State Law Enforcement Division demanding answers. The agencies didn’t immediately respond to the AP’s requests for comment. Also Wednesday, Sumter set a curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. for the city. They did not give any specific threats that led to the curfew.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – South Carolina health officials have issued a warning that reopening South Carolina may have led to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Health officials had been blaming an increase in testing on the higher numbers. But they changed the message Wednesday to say people who go to graduations, businesses or other recently opened places and aren’t careful about wearing masks or social distancing may be causing the increase. The number of deaths are also climbing. Health officials say the state likely won’t shut down businesses again, saying damaging the economy doesn’t help anyone and people need to take responsibility for their own safety.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A prosecutor in South Carolina says the investigation into the shooting death of a black teenager by a white Columbia police officer this spring is complete and he is reviewing to see if any charges will be filed. The shooting of 17-year-old Joshua Ruffin has been part of several days of protests at the South Carolina Statehouse about police brutality and racial inequality. Ruffin was killed April 8 by a Columbia police officer who wanted to talk to him about recent car break-ins. Authorities say Ruffin ran from the officer, then pointed a gun at him and was shot.

WASHINGTON (AP) – Republicans are working harder to dodge questions about whether they support President Donald Trump. Asked this week about the president’s support for force against protesters, a few answered while others mumbled and kept walking. But most did not criticize Trump, mindful of the president’s power to tank their fortunes on Election Day. That GOP dance is harder to execute now, because the country is struggling under a pandemic, record unemployment and a backlash after the police killing of George Floyd. And Republicans generally have trouble with the idea of using the military on U.S. soil.

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