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South Carolina

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Storm Florence is hitting North and South Carolina, and Virginia and weather forecasters warn of the risk of life-threatening flash flooding in parts of the states.

Florence has been downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm but continues to soak the East Coast area with rain, downing trees and damaging homes.

It is slowly grinding over the eastern states, with winds of 65mph.

Five deaths have been linked to the storm and thousands of people have been staying in emergency shelters.

Evacuation warnings were issued for 1.7 million people in the region.

All five deaths linked to the storm are in North Carolina.

Hurricane Florence Sparks Evacuations in South Carolina and States of Emergency in North Carolina and Virginia

Florence originally made landfall at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, on Friday morning as a category one hurricane.

The National Hurricane Center said on September 14 that “catastrophic fresh water flooding” is expected in parts of both the Carolinas.

Some parts of North Carolina have already seen surges as high as 10ft in places.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said the hurricane was likely to “continue its violent grind for days” and described the severity of the downfalls as a “1,000 year event”.

Florence is expected to dump 18 trillion gallons of rainwater on US soil, meteorologist Ryan Maue tweeted.

Almost 800,000 people are reported to be without power already in North Carolina, and officials have warned restoring electricity could take days or even weeks.

More than 20,000 residents have packed into North Carolina emergency shelters, and officials have told those still in the storm’s path to stay in place.

In Jacksonville, North Carolina, officials had rescued more than 60 people overnight on September 13 from a hotel that was collapsing in the storm.


Parts of New Bern, North Carolina, which is home to 30,000 people, were 10ft underwater on September 14 after local rivers flooded their banks.

Scores of residents in the riverfront city were plucked to safety, local reports say.

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The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has voted to end its 15-year economic boycott of South Carolina a day after the Confederate flag was removed from the grounds of the state house.

The civil rights group had boycotted tourism and other services in protest at the flying of the Confederate flag.

The controversial flag was removed after a debate sparked by the shooting of nine black people.

The suspected gunman, Dylann Roof, had been pictured holding the Confederate banner.

The flag was the battle emblem of the southern states during the American Civil War but is now seen by many as a symbol of slavery and racism.

Members of the NAACP agreed the move at their annual convention in Philadelphia.South Carolina Confederate flag

“Emergency resolution passed by the NAACP National Board of Directors at #NAACP106, ending the 15 year South Carolina boycott,” the group said on its Twitter feed.

The Confederate flag was originally placed on top of the South Carolina state house in Columbia in 1961 as part of Civil War centennial commemorations.

However, critics said it was more of a sign of opposition to the black civil rights movement at the time.

The NAACP announced its boycott in 2000 and maintained it even though the Confederate flag was later taken down from the capitol’s dome and placed by a civil war monument in the grounds.

The future of the flag was thrust back into the limelight after nine black people were shot dead in a church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17 this year.

After a long and fractious debate, a bill calling for the flag to be taken down was signed on July 9 by Republican Governor Nikki Haley.

Relatives of some of the victims attended July 10 ceremony to remove the flag from outside the state house.

Hundreds of people turned out to watch the event, some chanting “take it down” while they waited for the ceremony to begin.

The Confederate flag’s supporters argue that it is an important part of southern heritage.

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South Carolina House of Representatives has voted to take down the Confederate flag from its capitol grounds after a long and fractious debate.

The state House approval, by 93-27, follows a similar move in the Senate. After a final procedural vote, the bill will go to the governor for signature.

South Carolina Republican Governor Nikki Haley supports the removal of the Confederate flag.

The backlash against the emblem grew when a gunman killed nine black people at a Charleston church last month.

Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old charged with the killings, was pictured holding the Confederate flag.South Carolina Confederate flag removal

The Confederate flag – used by the South in the American Civil War (1860-65) – is seen by some as an icon of slavery and racism while others say it symbolizes the United States heritage and history.

The banner could now be removed within days.

The House vote was taken on July 9 after 13 hours of debate.

During a heated session, dozens of amendments by Republicans aimed at slowing down passage of the bill were rejected.

Some Republicans argued the flag was part of US history that had been “hijacked” by racists.

The Confederate flag was originally the battle emblem of the southern states in the American Civil War which tried to break away.

South Carolina was the first state to leave the union in 1860. It restored the flag in the capitol grounds more than 50 years ago in protest at the civil rights movement.

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South Carolina church shooting suspect Dylann Roof is due to make his first court appearance.

Dylann Storm Roof, 21, is suspected of shooting dead nine people at the Emanuel AME Churche in Charleston.

He was detained more than 200 miles away in North Carolina and flown back to Charleston.

Police are treating the killings as a hate crime.

Prayer vigils have been held in churches in Charleston and across the US for the six women and three men who died in the June 17 shooting.

Churches in Charleston were full to overflowing on June 18 as prayer services were held. Some services were held outdoors.Dylann Roof Charleston church shooting

Hundreds gathered outside the Emanuel AME Church, where the attack took place, to pay tribute.

Dylann Roof is due to appear in court via video link for a bail hearing on June 19. He is being held at a detention centre in the Charleston area, the county sheriff’s office said.

He was detained on June 18 after police acting on a tip-off stopped his car in Shelby, North Carolina. He waived his right to extradition and was flown back to South Carolina.

Police had earlier released CCTV images of the shooting suspect and the dark saloon car he had driven away in.

Dylann Roof’s social media profile suggests he was interested in white supremacy.

His Facebook page shows a picture of him wearing a jacket with flag-patches from apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia – the name of Zimbabwe during the era of white minority rule. He also had Confederate flag plate on his car.

Dalton Tyler, who said he was a friend of Dylann Roof, told ABC News the suspect had spoken in support of racial segregation and had said “he wanted to start a civil war”.

It emerged on Thursday that Dylann Roof had sat in a Bible study group at the church for nearly an hour before launching his attack.

“The suspect entered the group and was accepted by them, as they believed that he wanted to join them in this Bible study,” Charleston County Coroner Rae Wilson said.

She said he then became “very aggressive and violent”.

Eight people died at the scene and one person died later in hospital. There were three survivors.

The victims were named as Pastor Clementa Pinckney, 41; Cynthia Hurd, 54; Tywanza Sanders, 26; Ms Singleton, 45; Myra Thompson, 59; Ethel Lance, 70; Susie Jackson, 87; the Rev Daniel Simmons Sr, 74; and DePayne Doctor.

President Barack Obama said the killings again raised the issue of US gun ownership, saying: “At some point, we as a country have to reckon with the fact that this type of massacre does not happen in other advanced countries.”

The Emanuel church is the oldest African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church in the US south. Civil rights leader Martin Luther King gave a speech there in April 1962.

Nine people have been killed in a shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston in the US state of South Carolina, officials say.

City police chief Gregory Mullen said eight of the victims were killed inside the historic African-American church on Wednesday evening, while another person died shortly afterwards.

Police are now searching for a white male suspect in his 20s.

“I do believe it was a hate crime,” Gregory Mullen said.

The church’s pastor, state Senator Clementa Pinckney, was among those killed, civil rights activist the Rev Al Sharpton tweeted.

A prayer meeting was going on at the time of the shooting at about 21:00 local time on June 17 at the church on Calhoun Street.Charleston Emanuel AME Church shooting 2015

Charleston police tweeted: “Suspect in shooting on Calhoun St is a w/m approx 21 slender small build wearing a grey sweat shirt blue jeans timberland boots clean shaven.”

Speaking at a news briefing later, Gregory Mullen said: “There were eight deceased individuals inside of the church. Two individuals were transported to [the hospital]. One of them has died.

“At this point, we have nine victims in this hideous crime that has been committed.

“It is unfathomable that somebody in today’s society would walk into a church when people are having a prayer meeting and take their lives.”

A woman who survived the shooting told her family the gunman said he was letting her live so she could report what happened, the Charleston Post and Courier reported.

She said the gunman had sat in the church before standing and opening fire, according to an official from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Charleston Mayor Joe Riley described the shooting as “the most unspeakable” tragedy.

South Carolina Senator Tim Scott tweeted: “My heart is breaking for Charleston and South Carolina tonight.”

Jeb Bush’s campaign cancelled an event planned in Charleston for June 18 due to the shooting.

“Governor Bush’s thoughts and prayers are with the individuals and families affected by this tragedy,” Jeb Bush’s team said in a statement.

Helicopters were seen hovering above the area and a police chaplain was at the scene.

At one point police asked residents to move away because of reports of a bomb – but police later gave the all-clear.

A group of worshippers was seen praying near the church.

The attack comes two months after unarmed black man Walter Scott was shot and killed by a white police officer in North Charleston.

The shooting prompted angry protests and highlighted racial tension in the city. The officer has since been charged with murder.

Charleston was also due to hold a ceremony on June 18 marking the eighth anniversary of another tragedy – the death of nine firefighters in a blaze at a furniture store in 2007.

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Mourners has gathered in Summerville, South Carolina for the funeral of black driver Walter Scott.

Walter Scott was fatally shot by North Charleston police officer Michael Slager after fleeing a traffic stop.

A hearse being escorted by two police on motorcycles drove up as the growing crowd looked on April 11. Mourners waited outside through humidity and a period of light rain while flowers were unloaded and brought inside the sanctuary.

Photo AP

Photo AP

Police initially said Walter Scott was shot on April 4 during a tussle over Michael Slager’s department-issued Taser.

However, a witness video surfaced later, showing Walter Scott being shot eight times as he ran away. Officer Michael Slager was fired and charged with murder.

The incident sparked outrage as another instance of a white law enforcement officer fatally shooting an unarmed black man under questionable circumstances.

South Carolina police officer Michael Slager has been charged with murder after video emerged of him shooting a black man running away from him.

State investigators arrested North Charleston Officer Michael Slager on April 7 after viewing the mobile phone video of the shooting.

According to authorities, victim Walter Lamer Scott was shot after the white officer had already targeted him with a stun gun.

The US Department of Justice is set to launch an investigation.

“When you’re wrong, you’re wrong,” North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey said, announcing the arrest.

“When you make a bad decision, I don’t care if you’re behind the shield or a citizen on the street, you have to live with that decision.”

Photo North Charleston Police

Photo North Charleston Police

Police officers in the US fatally shoot and kill hundreds of people each year, but only a handful of cases result in the officer facing criminal charges.

The incident on April 4 began after Walter Lamer Scott’s car was stopped for having a broken rear light, local media reported.

A video of the incident published by the New York Times shows a brief scuffle before Walter Lamer Scott begins running away. The video then shows Officer Michael Slager firing several shots at Walter Lamer Scott, who falls to the ground.

The Post and Courier newspaper of Charleston reported that Walter Lamer Scott had been arrested about 10 times, mostly for failing to pay child support or show up for court hearings.

His brother, Anthony Scott, told the Post and Courier that he believed his brother fled from Michael Slager because he owed child support.

Anthony Scott said that because of the video, “we have received the truth” and “through the process, justice has been served”.

Chris Stewart, a lawyer for Walter Lamer Scott’s family, called the passer-by who recorded the video a “hero”.

The shooting occurred as heightened scrutiny is being placed on police officer shootings, particularly those that involve white officers and unarmed black suspects.

A grand jury declined to indict Ferguson, Missouri officer Darren Wilson over the fatal shooting of Michael Brown last August, leading to nationwide protests.

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South Carolina Judge Carmen T. Mullen has overturned the conviction of 14-year-old George Stinney Jr. executed for murder in the 1940’s.

George Stinney’s prosecution for the killing of two white girls in South Carolina was a great injustice, the judge said.

The boy was arrested, convicted and executed in 1944 in the space of three months, and with no appeal.

Supporters said his trial was tainted by racism and lack of evidence.

In her ruling, Judge Carmen T. Mullen said that the prosecution at the time had failed to safeguard George Stinney’s constitutional rights.

The boy was arrested after two girls, aged 7 and 11, were found beaten to death a day after they reportedly spoke to him and his sister.

After a search party found the girls, the teenager was reportedly taken from his parents and interrogated without a lawyer.George Stinney execution 1944

George Stinney remains the youngest person executed in the US in 100 years.

According to contemporary accounts, George Stinney’s size – he weighed 95lb and stood about 5ft 2in tall – meant he was too small for the straps of the electric chair, and an electrode was too big for his leg.

Reports say George Stinney had to sit on a phone book in the electric chair.

Most evidence in the state’s case, including George Stinney’s alleged confession, had been lost over time.

Prosecutors have said that the loss of evidence did not mean it was deliberately destroyed.

The case was brought to renewed public attention in large part by George Frierson, one of George Stinney’s most outspoken supporters.

“When I get home, I’m going to get on my knees and thank the Lord Almighty for being so good and making sure justice prevailed,” George Frierson said after hearing of the ruling.

During the 1940s South Carolina was a centre of the southern US states’ official segregationist racism, known as the Jim Crow system.

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A teacher at Batesburg-Leesville Primary School, South Carolina, has been accused by first graders parents of picking out students in her class to rub her feet.

The teacher, who has not been named, was disciplined, but still has her job teaching six and seven-year-olds, leaving the community troubled.

The allegations came out when one of the teacher’s students told her grandmother she didn’t want to give any more foot massages.

The grandmother, Brends Norris, told WISTV in Columbia, South Carolina, Tuesday:

“She admitted to the children rubbing her feet. Just the thought of it.”

“They immediately sent her home, but she’s back there today.”

When Brends Norris took to Facebook to talk about the teacher, she found at least six other parents whose children reported the same thing, she said.

The six-year-old girl told her grandmother her teacher wore flip-flops to school so she could simply slip them off for her pupils to rub her feet.

Brends Norris suggested the school district would need to do more to win back her trust and repair that trauma her granddaughter is experiencing

Brends Norris suggested the school district would need to do more to win back her trust and repair that trauma her granddaughter is experiencing

Brends Norris said she taught her granddaughter to tell her if anyone every touched her inappropriately.

“She told me, <<Grandma, you didn’t tell me if I touch someone else, to tell you>>. That broke my heart,” Brends Norris said.

Brends Norris said being forced to rub her teacher’s feet has caused her granddaughter to have nightmares.

“She said <<I have three wishes, grandma. One of them was not to go to school today>>” Brends Norris said.

Officials at Lexington County School District Three said they investigated the allegations, took action and corrected the problem – but would not give specifics.

The local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and police are both investigating. A community meeting is also planned.

Brends Norris suggested the school district would need to do more to win back her trust and repair that trauma her granddaughter is experiencing.

“I don’t trust the system at all now. I can’t trust the system. I’m afraid for her to go to school,” the grandmother said.