4 officers hurt, deputies used rubber bullets in Columbia protests: Officials

State - Regional

COLUMBIA, SC (WBTW/WLTX) – Four police officers in Columbia were hurt as protests rocked the city Saturday.

Columbia Chief of Police William Holbrook announced the officers are injured and at the hospital during a news conference Saturday addressing the ongoing protests.

CPD said online one of the officers was seriously hurt.

The chief was joined by Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, who said that a protester who was injured outside the police department was brought into the building and treated. He later left with his parent.

The sheriff also said deputies fired rubber bullets as they were attacked with rocks while trying to help a person hurt in the crowd.

The police department said online that a curfew is now in effect in the certain areas.

CBS affiliate WLTX reports that the (I Can’t Breathe) March, South Carolina March for Black Lives began Saturday morning on Main Street before making its way to the police station by the afternoon.

The march follows George Floyd’s death in Minnesota earlier in the week. The Minneapolis police officer who pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck as he begged for air has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

During Saturday’s demonstrations in Columbia, protesters took down the American state and city flags at the police department, WLTX reports. CPD told the news outlet that shots were fired but they were not fired by law enforcement. WLTX also reports that protesters were seen throwing bricks and breaking windows of police cars in the city after the march.

The city said it encourages peaceful protest, but anything else would not be tolerated.

“What’s happening right now cannot and will not be tolerated in this city,” Mayor Steve Benjamin said.

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