I’m told a BLM protestor was open carrying an AR-15 at the Charleston Battery Sunday chanting, “All lives matter when black lives matter MOST!”. A scuffle broke out when a BLM protestor snatched a Confederate flag from a man, who fought back with the stick the flag was flown from.
NOTE: There is nothing illegal taking place in this photograph according to Charleston Police. South Carolina is Open Carry for unloaded Long Rifles.
Tyler Bessenger tells 94.3 WSC, "What happened at the Battery Sunday was wrong. A monument supporter was assaulted and his property was destroyed - and he was arrested for defending himself." Take a listen to his full interview along with Steve Griffin who also was at the Battery on Sunday videoing events as they unfolded.
WARNING:Videos may contain violent content regarding imaging and audio
Paige was at Sunday's dueling 'protests' and said, "This is why context matters. Brandishing a weapon carries the implication that the user intends to intimidate others and use the weapon in an offensive manner, rather than a defensive manner. If the rifle were slung across his back, that would not be brandishing. Holding the rifle with his finger near the trigger, in a public place on private property, during a heated protest, and harassing other people (which is not shown in the photograph) all implies a threat to those around him.
Legally, the argument could be made that his finger is not on the trigger, and it appears that the rifle magazine is not loaded, although one bullet could be, and in this photograph he standing alone, not bothering anybody.
The police present saw the whole situation, and should have instructed him to secure the weapon, thereby adhering to the law. The police did not do that."
I'm now hearing the Monument 'defenders' plan to be armed at Sunday 'flaggings' moving forward. Stay tuned here online and on air for new updates.