Mayor: ‘Band of thugs’ responsible for Charleston rioting, ‘won’t be allowed to do it again’

VIDEO: Charleston mayor, police chief speak on Saturday night's rioting

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg vowed that more forces will be brought to bear Sunday and in the foreseeable future following a night of riots.

LIVE: Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg and Police Chief Luther Reynolds talk about last night's rioting in downtown.

Posted by Live 5 News on Sunday, May 31, 2020

Tecklenburg said he “totally aligned with the need for justice" in death of George Floyd, who died Monday while in police custody in Minneapolis. Floyd’s death sparked a week of violence in Minneapolis that has spread to cities nationwide.

“But you can’t rectify that with violence and civil disorder,” he said. “And that’s clear. And so, we just can’t tolerate that.”

Tecklenburg said it was “a band of thugs who were intent upon civil unrest and looting" and said those folks will not be allowed to do that again.

Police Chief Luther Reynolds said he hoped Charleston would be the model of how peaceful protests would go.

“We want to be a national model, I was hoping that was going to happen last night when we had the peaceful protest,” Reynolds said. “Unfortunately, that’s not what happened.”

Reynolds estimated 10 people had been arrested Saturday night but said additional arrests and charges are likely as the investigation into the rioting. He said none of his police officers suffered substantial injuries during the incident.

“There are a lot of pains in our community in our country,” Reynolds said. “We have to speak out. I have spoken out very loudly and very consistently against what happened in Minneapolis. I would not tolerate that myself from any of my officers. What I saw happen was atrocious, it was deplorable.”

But he said everyone must work together.

“We have to have solidarity and unity in terms of justice and speaking out about some of the wrongs and doing active work to fix those things,” Reynolds said. “And we also have to make sure that there’s message that we can’t tolerate what happened last night. It’s not helpful for our city. It’s not helpful for the movement. It’s not helpful for fixing and addressing these systemic significant problems.”

Reynolds also offered a message to members of the African American community.

“I would say we are with you, we care about you, we respect you, we love every one of you,” he said. “We want to treat you with dignity and respect, and we want to do a good job. And we want to get our city back on his feet and we can only do that together we have to work hard to build trust to build relationships and have great outcomes. I think that’s what everybody wants.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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