Summerville Police release additional details on Walmart incident involving minor

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) — The Summerville Police Department (SPD) has released additional details regarding the incident at Walmart Monday, where a minor was charged with assault and battery.

“It is not common practice for the Summerville Police Department to comment on pending cases or arrests. However, in light of the recent video shared on social media regarding the recent arrest of a juvenile at Walmart on North Main Street, state law prohibits us from releasing the juvenile’s picture, identity, or video without the parent’s permission,” said Chief Douglas Wright with the Summerville Police Department.

“Today, at my instruction, we contacted the juvenile’s mother and offered to allow her to review the police videos of yesterday’s incident. She has agreed to meet with us tomorrow to do so. Since we cannot release the video without her permission, we remain transparent and will provide a sequence of events depicting yesterday’s yesterday’s arrest.”

Police said they received several complaints from business owners around North Main Market about individuals selling Palmetto roses and loitering in front of their businesses.

On the day of the incident, two Summerville officers used the Public Announcement (PA) system in their marked patrol cars to ask two individuals selling roses in front of Walmart to move.

Police say the pair refused, and so the officers exited their patrol vehicles to speak with the individuals blocking the exit/entrance of Walmart. According to SPD, during this time, one of the individuals was cussing at police and refused to identify themselves.

Because the individual would not cooperate, police then moved to detain him. The individual immediately resisted and pushed the officer into the wall. Another officer held the individual’s body to prevent him from fleeing. A second officer gave commands for the individual to stop resisting, the agency said in a statement

As the struggle continued, police say the individual struck a female officer in the face. The female officer then pulled out her taser and issued verbal commands. The juvenile moved into a seated position, and the officer restraining him moved “into a top grappling position,” causing the minor to lean forward. Police say they did this to keep the minor from standing and fleeing or assaulting another officer.

Law enforcement says a witness was also trying to calm the minor and encourage him to follow police instructions. After the individual was handcuffed, he then “made a spontaneous utterance” he was a juvenile, SPD’s statement says.

“In lieu of various charges, the juvenile was only charged with Town Code 16-01, Assaulting and Officer Involved in Official Duties, and released to his parent,” said Lt. Shaun Tumbleston with Summerville Police. “It was also determined that the second suspect was on an active trespass notice for Walmart.”

Chief Wright also acknowledged how this incident can impact residents’ trust in police. He went on to say the police force will remain dedicated to open communication with the population it serves.

“The Summerville Police Department is committed to maintaining public safety while upholding the highest standards of professionalism and respect for all individuals. We will continue to conduct a thorough review of this incident to ensure our officers followed proper protocols and identify any areas for improvement,” said Chief Wright.

“We recognize the impact such incidents can have on community trust, and we remain dedicated to fostering open communication and strengthening our relationship with the citizens we serve.”