CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The National Action Network will review the status of its South Carolina chapter president later this month, according to a high-ranking spokesman for the group.
The Rev. Nelson B. Rivers III, the group's national vice president of religious affairs and external relations, said in a statement Tuesday Elder James Johnson, who serves as president of the South Carolina chapter of NAN, made "unfortunate" comments about a viral video Monday.
The video shows convenience store employees hitting a shoplifting suspect, later identified as Tyrone Mazyck, with a sword and holding him at gunpoint at Andrews Mart on Dorchester Road.
On Monday, in response to the video, NAN President Elder James Johnson suggested the workers should quote, "go back to their country".
But on Tuesday, Johnson issued a correction saying his comment was not meant to stereotype any class of people and that the National Action Network promotes civil rights for all.
Rivers said NAN's policy and mission statement "clearly disavows any comments that suggest that we support discriminatory comments or policies of people of Middle Eastern descent."
"I have spoken to the national office of the National Action Network and they want me to reiterate that we cannot condone any suggestions that our organization supports discrimination against any group based on national origin or heritage," he said.
Rivers said Johnson's status with NAN would be reviewed at the group's annual convention in New York. That convention runs from April 26 to April 29.
Rivers said the group does support Johnson's call for a meeting to have what he called "a long-overdue dialogue" around complaints of African Americans about their treatment by Middle Eastern business owners.
"While we believe that it is important to reassure members of the Middle Eastern community that we do not support discrimination against them but at the same time we must have a serious conversation about interactions between members of the African-American community and these business owners," he said.
Mazyck was charged with shoplifting. The incident report stated he had an outstanding warrant for failing to appear in court after being convicted of a separate shoplifting charge.
His sister said Monday claims Mazyck pushed employees, cut them with a knife and threatened to kill them weren't true. She also said she believes the person who shot the video saved her brother's life.