CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) – The historic South Carolina city of Charleston has removed a statue honoring John C. Calhoun, an early U.S. vice president whose zealous defense of slavery led the nation toward civil war. The city had crews working night and day to take away the towering statue. What had been expected to be a relatively quick task stretched into an ordeal lasting more than 16 hours before the statue was lifted up and brought to the ground late Wednesday afternoon as dozens cheered. With his pro-slavery “Calhoun Doctrine,” Calhoun led the South toward secession before he died in 1850.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – South Carolina’s conservative Republican-dominated House stood in eight minutes and 46 seconds of “thoughtful prayer.” Rep. Chris Hart, a Black Democrat from Columbia, asked lawmakers Tuesday to not just have a moment of silence, but to stand quietly the entire time prosecutors originally said a Minneapolis police officer had a knee on George Floyd’s neck. Almost all the 79 Republicans, all of whom are white, stayed in the chamber alongside the 44 Democrats. As several black lawmakers turned on the timers on their phones, Speaker Jay Lucas called for a moment of “thoughtful prayer” that lasted much more than a moment.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Eleven GOP attorneys general are weighing in on the congressional debate over policing amid the national push to stop racial bias in law enforcement. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and the others sent a letter this week urging congressional leaders to ensure police officers’ safety as Democrats demand changes in police tactics and accountability. Paxton joined attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma and South Carolina in signing the letter. The letter comes as a Republican policing bill stalled with lack of Senate Democratic support. Polling shows the country overwhelmingly wants changes in policing.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A South Carolina prosecutor says he will not file charges against a white police officer who fatally shot a Black teenager who pointed a gun at the officer as he ran away. The prosecutor said Wednesday that a review of the investigation led to the decision to not to charge Columbia police Officer Kevin Davis. Authorities say the officer stopped to question 17-year-old Josh Ruffin on April 8 about several car break-ins that had just happened nearby. Columbia’s police chief says Ruffin ran and the officer chased him for about 20 seconds before Ruffin pulled a gun.