Sheriff: deputies ready to respond if trouble arises

Published 9:11 pm Monday, June 1, 2020

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Beaufort County Sheriff Ernie Coleman says his deputies are ready to respond in the event that events take a turn for the worse tonight, following a protest on the Washington Waterfront earlier today. That protest ended peacefully with no issues and no confrontation between demonstrators and police.

In addition to helping the Washington Police Department patrol the waterfront, Coleman said there were close to 20 deputies at the BCSO offices to protect vital 911 communications equipment.

“I have 20 deputies in gear on the water front to assist the (Washington) Police Department and about 20 deputies around our office to protect our communications center and our vehicles,” Coleman posted to social media shortly after 8 p.m. “The protest march is over and went well, however now there is a crowd that is starting to gather that are more vocal and loud. My people have been instructed to act quickly and stop any acts of rioting or destruction of property with force without hesitation.”

Coleman said that gathering dispersed quickly, adding that there were no arrests to his knowledge. The plan was to keep those extra deputies on standby for a few hours tonight before standing down to normal patrols, according to Coleman.

“There were a lot of things going on here,” Coleman said. “We were helping the police department on the waterfront, we had several here ready to deploy, protect our vehicles and our communication system. Right now, I’m glad we prepared for the worst and prayed for the best, and it looks like it’s going to turn out alright for us.”

Washington is under a citywide curfew until 6 a.m. Tuesday morning.