About a dozen people gathered in front of United Gas Station and Capitol Liquors on Harden Street to protest after the owner of the business verbally and physically assaulted a Black woman.

This protest comes in response to a video posted by Shaterica Neal on her Facebook page. Neal is a member of the Grey Court, SC city council.

Members of the community, including Councilwomen Neal, stood in front of the store calling for the owner named Joe to be arrested and the store shut down. Several people holding up signs calling for Justice and for African Americans to not spend another dollar in the store.

“No one needs to shop at this store if black women are going to be assaulted,” community member Jerome Bowers said. “If I can help it, this business won’t exist in our community at all.”

Rye Martinez, grew up in Allen Benedict Court and gave her response to the situation.

“We [her family] come to this store every day,” she said. “We know Joe personally and what he has done is unacceptable. We are going to make sure black people are protected when they go into any store in Columbia. This is the last time someone is assaulted in our city and we are quiet about it.”

Many of the protestors also expressed being exhausted with the treatment of black women in the community.

“We are out here so black girls can grow up and not worry about being assaulted or treated like how our sister yesterday was treated.” Bowers stated.

Another protester also commented “If you’re going to swing on a woman and call her a Donkey N***** B****, what would you do to my daughter?”

According to her Facebook page, on June 23, Neal stopped by the United Gas Station after volunteering at the polls. She noticed several people sitting at the front of the store and offered them pizza.

When returning from her car to get the pizza, the owner, known as Joe, stepped outside and told Neal to “Get the F***from in front of my store.” Neal then says she got into a verbal altercation with Joe and went back to get her phone to record the incident. While doing so, Joe reportedly started spouting racial slurs toward Neal and called the police.

When Neal began to record, the Joe attempted several times to hit either Neal or the phone out of her hand, all while on the phone with police. On the video, Joe was heard calling Neal a ‘monkey’.

During the protest on June 24, Joe was seen on video being detained and placed in a Columbia Police Department vehicle.

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