The partnership seems unlikely in 2020. Black Lives Matter South Carolina, whose members helped organize Columbia protests in May that escalated into violence beyond their control, and the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, accused by protesters of instigating some of the violence, agreeing to work together?
But it’s true. While the arrangement has its critics, both groups said they want to make it work. Not surprisingly, the arrangement started with some detective work.
Capt. Wendall Harris had to track down Lawrence Nathaniel’s phone number. Nathaniel, the founder of Black Lives Matter SC, and Harris were going to be on a panel about the protests that followed the killing of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis.
As Nathaniel himself put it: “Everybody knows that Lawrence likes saying things he don’t need to be saying. He (Harris) wanted to call to make sure I wasn’t going to say anything I don’t need to be saying.”
That call got Nathaniel, a vocal critic of the current state of policing, and Richland County’s Sheriff Leon Lott into an office together.
The partnership emerged from that office meeting, according to Nathaniel. Lott also met with BLM SC Director Kayin Jones, solidifying the partnership.
“After the riot in May I wanted to do whatever we could to make sure we didn’t have anything like that,” Lott said. “Instead of working against each other, why don’t we work together and do it in a peaceful way?”
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