SC Increases Patrols Around Monuments at State House

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The South Carolina Department of Public Safety is increasing patrols around the State House in response to increase tensions about monuments.

SCDPS Director Leroy Smith said Tuesday his agency was closely monitoring the events happening in Charlottesville, Virginia and around the nation. He said anytime tensions flare in other parts of the country, they decide if they need to increase security. 

"Our primary concern is for the safety and security of visitors and personnel as well as the preservation of the historical monuments and markers," he said.

He said this was based on incidents in other state. He did not mention any reported problems in South Carolina.

The State House features a tribute to Confederate soldiers and Gen. Wade Hampton, as well as a statue of Gov. Ben Tillman, a late 19th century governor of the state who many say enacted deeply racist policies.

Smith did say that the public can report suspicious activity at the State House by calling 803.734.2422.

Over the weekend, white nationalists went to Charlottesville to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Eventually, those protesters clashed with anti-protesters who was upset with the group's inflammatory rhetoric. 

On Saturday, a man who police say was affiliated with the white nationalists drove his car into a group of protesters who were against his group, killing a 32-year-old woman and wounding 20 others. 

On Monday night, a crowd in Durham, NC tore down a Confederate monument there, and someone spray-painted a similar monument in the Atlanta area. 

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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