Lowcountry police have plan for community safety during high profile criminal trials

Lowcountry police have plan for community safety during high profile criminal trials

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Lowcountry law enforcement agencies are getting ready in case riots like in Charlotte were to happen in Charleston.

This Fall two high profile criminal trials are set to begin.

Next month former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager will be on trial for shooting and killing an unarmed black man. In November, the federal trial for Dylann Roof starts. He's accused of killing nine people at Mother Emanuel AME church.

Charleston County Assistant Sheriff Mitch Lucas said the Sheriff's Office, local police, the FBI and SLED have created a game plan to address possible situations that may arise over the next few months.

"We will have all of the resources we will need at the time of these trials," he said. "They'll be in place to be used."

Spokesmen for the Sheriff's Offices in Dorchester and Berkeley County add they have resources available to assist, along with local police departments being prepared for potentially dangerous situations.

"We want to make sure anyone who wants to protest has that right, and we'll protect them," Lucas said. "But even in Dallas that was being done and we still have five police officers, and the shooter who was killed."

Lucas added Lowcountry agencies have monitored what has happened across the country.

"Charlotte and other places around the country did not have preparation time, it was spontaneous," he said. "So that gives us the luxury of coming together and working out a very complicated approach to providing security."

Heading into these trials though, Lucas feels Charleston will remain calm like it did when those deadly incidents happened in the first place.

"The victims... survivors of victims who forgave Dylann Roof on TV, they took a truly Christian approach as far as forgiveness to that level," he said.

Even Chris Singleton, the son of a Mother Emanuel victim, took to social media tweeting, "I understand the anger, but if you want to get your point across do it in the right way. #GodsLove #CharlestonStrong #CantLetMomsDown", in response to the disturbances in Charlotte.

As for the response to officer-involved shootings, Lucas said transparency can be tricky, and it all depends on what is happening during the investigation.

"I think the lesson that law enforcement has learned with transparency is that if you're transparent at the wrong time then you have to justify what your plan was, what your approach was," he said. "If people have the luxury of waiting [they can] look at it from different perspectives and ask questions we didn't consider."

At this time, Lowcountry law enforcement agencies have not been requested to respond to help with the situation in Charlotte.

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