CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCIV) — Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon spoke to the media on Friday afternoon after protests first swept across the country following George Floyd’s death.
He said he watched the video showing a former police officer’s knee pressed to Floyd’s neck for several minutes.
“I’m appalled at the actions of the police officers in that situation. I think the process is moving forward, as they have been charged. Totally unacceptable police procedures there. I think that was recognized and one of the reasons the arrests were made so swiftly,” Cannon said.
The sheriff stated that he understands those protesting and that law enforcement has a responsibility to protect people when these events happen.
He referenced how law enforcement took a different approach between last Saturday and Sunday after looting and rioting took place overnight in parts of Charleston.
“…We’ve got to maintain a level of control. It doesn’t allow for people to go all over the community with their demonstration. We want people to demonstrate in a safe environment where people can give their opinion,” Cannon stated.
The sheriff said his deputies were never directed to not make arrests.
On Friday, Minneapolis leaders agreed to ban all chokeholds by police. Cannon said his sheriff’s office has never authorized chokeholds.
Cannon expressed his hope for peaceful demonstrations going forward, but said various departments would be ready to work together and address civil unrest if needed.
The full press conference can be viewed here.