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Racial Debate Heats Up at SC Statehouse with KKK, Black Panthers Presence
7/22/2015 2:07:29 PM

Ku Klux Klan Members at July 18 rally at SC statehouse

The New Black Panthers at July 18 rally at SC statehouse

'Destroy KKK' supporters at July 18 rally at SC statehouse. Photo by Joel Woodhall
By Joel Woodhall

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Saturday, July 18th, the North Carolina-based Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan met resistance and violence during a racial showdown, on the steps of the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia. The rally kicked off just before 3pm.

At the rally, Black Educators for Justice, which is a group affiliated with The New Black Panther Party, held a counter rally on the North side of the Statehouse, to push resistance onto the KKK. Both groups hurled hateful words back and forth to each other.
Multiple police agencies were on scene to control the emotional and unruly crowd.

The police came in large numbers and were heavily armed. The debates and arguments were peaceful until the North Carolina-based Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan made their grand entrance, with a police escort, to the top of the South Carolina Capitol’s south steps, waving large Confederate flags and shouting racial obscenities. About 40 KKK members were in attendance.

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety estimated that there were 2,000 participants at Saturdays event, which led to five arrests and 23 medical emergencies. No officer related injuries were reported.

Shortly after the Klansman made it to the steps of the capitol building, a small brawl broke out, leaving a 74-year-old white male on the ground, bleeding profusely from what appeared to be inside his ear and forehead. The man was wearing a Confederate Flag T-shirt and was escorted out of the epicenter of the rally to an ambulance. While being escorted to the ambulance, the bleeding man was met with extremely hateful remarks along the way from the black group supporters.

A graphic video appeared on social media and YouTube shortly after the rallies on Saturday, showing alleged “Bloods” gang members, more than six black individuals, brutally beating and kicking a white male in a street near the Statehouse, as he tries to escape the beat down. The white male in the video is said to be a member of the Klu Klux Klan, however, his identity could not be confirmed.

For reasons of public safety, the Loyal White Knights were escorted off of the Statehouse grounds at 4:15 pm, which cut their rally about an hour short. The rally was originally slated for 3pm-5pm. After the North Carolina Klan was escorted out, smaller groups formed and heated arguments continued to be exchanged.

Anna Chapman, resident of Columbia, SC, was holding a sign that read “The Media Created The Race War.” She expressed that she felt the national media was behind the creation of the race war, saying they “didn’t get the reaction they wanted from the nine Emanuel victims, so they went after the [Confederate] flag.” Chapman says she supported the removal of the flag but doesn’t support either side that was present at Saturday’s event. “What’s going on out here is wrong and the media is only making it worse by focusing on racism,” said Chapman.

Shaterica Neal, resident of Laurens, South Carolina, explained after a heated debate with Confederate supporters, “Sometimes, you just have to walk away from people who don’t make sense.” She said she couldn’t understand why somebody could hate you simply because of the color of your skin. “You’re not born to hate, these people are being taught to hate.”

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