S.C. House expresses 'profound sorrow' to Black victims of violence, commits to address systemic racism
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S.C. House expresses 'profound sorrow' to Black victims of violence, commits to address systemic racism

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South Carolina Statehouse

COLUMBIA -- The South Carolina House of Representatives approved resolutions expressing “profound sorrow” over the deaths of three Black Americans, which sparked protests in recent weeks. The resolutions were adopted during the Wednesday, June 25, 2020 session.

H. 5516 memorializes Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who was killed by three plainclothes police officers during a no-knock raid of her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky. The officers responsible have not been charged.

H. 5517 memorializes Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was shot and killed while jogging near Brunswick, Georgia. For months, the local prosecutor refused to press charges against the men responsible; one of the men was a former law enforcement officer who worked for the prosecutor’s office. Only after video of Arbery’s death was released, sparking widespread public outrage, were charges brought against the men.

H. 5518 memorializes George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during an arrest as police officers restrained him, with one officer kneeling on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Video of Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020, set off a wave of ongoing protests across the country and throughout the world. Yesterday’s session of the S.C. House marked the first meeting of the legislative body since Floyd's death.

The resolution in memory of George Floyd states that the members of the South Carolina House “commit their attention to combating police brutality while addressing systemic racism as it exists in South Carolina.”

Rep. John King, the primary sponsor of H. 5518, stated that such recognition was long overdue. “We as elected officials must commit ourselves to fighting injustice. Right now, we remember Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd, but it was not long ago that we were remembering Walter Scott and the ‘Emanuel Nine.’ Racism kills, and it kills right here in South Carolina.

“I thank my colleagues for their recognition of victims of racist violence. Now, the need for action is clear. We must work to prevent future tragedies like these from occurring in South Carolina ever again.”

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