Hundreds of SC National Guardsmen deploying to Washington
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina is sending hundreds of National Guard troops to the nation’s capital at the request of President Donald Trump to help tamp down unrest in the wake of the death of George Floyd.
Capt. Jessica Donnelly told The Associated Press that about 445 Guardsmen left South Carolina on Tuesday afternoon for Washington. The duration of their deployment was still to be undetermined.
“When the South Carolina National Guard is activated, we are prepared to respond as long as needed,” Donnelly said.
Overall, more than 20,000 National Guard members have been called up in 29 states in the wake of protests and violence over the past week. The protests have been sparked by the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air as a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for several minutes. He died on Memorial Day.
Gov. Henry McMaster activated the Guard on Sunday after peaceful protests throughout South Carolina turned violent. Law enforcement officials said that more than 110 people were arrested over the weekend throughout the state, and several businesses and other properties were damaged in Columbia and Charleston.
Trump has implored governors across the country to quell the violence, threatening to send in the military to restore order if governors didn’t do so. He has also called on governors to send National Guard troops for a show of force in the nation’s capital after several days of unrest there.
At least three states — New York, Virginia and Delaware — have so far rejected the request, with at least one governor citing Trump’s rhetoric about using troops to “dominate” protesters as a reason why.
All of those states are led by Democrats. McMaster, a Republican, has long been a supporter of the president.
In Washington, Donnelly said, the South Carolina Guard members would “work in support of the District of Columbia National Guard conducting civil disturbance missions in order to protect citizens and maintain peace.”