CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Chants, signs, and loud sirens filled a Louis Vuitton store in downtown Charleston on Tuesday as several people protested in favor of animal rights at the high-end merchandiser.
Police said half a dozen people entered the King Street store around 3:00 p.m. using megaphones and waving signs throughout the shop. They said several “stunned and worried-looking customers” were inside the business at the time.
“The noise the group was causing was so loud that one could not hear oneself yell, let alone talk,” an officer said in their report.
While the group disrupted customers and the operation of the business, police said the protestors accused employees of having blood on their hands, according to Sgt. Elisabeth Wolfsen, a spokesperson for the Charleston Police Department.
The group appeared to be associated with an unknown animal rights group. The Charleston Police Department’s crime intel group is looking into who the protestors may be affiliated with.
They are all believed to be from out of town.
“It did seem to be a set of organized individuals who were targeting this store,” said Sgt. Wolfsen. “It seems that they may be targeting high-end stores- Louis Vuitton, Gucci, things like that.”
Meanwhile, two security officers from Charleston Place asked the group to leave but the protestors refused.
Additional security and police officers arrived after several minutes passed but the group still had not left the business, according to the CPD report. The officers had to “physically assist” the group in leaving the store, which was done by grabbing the arm of each protestor and physically escorting them outside.
Police said one of the protestors violently pulled away from a security guard and began “wildly swinging his arms around” which they said appeared to be an attempt to physically assault the guard.
That person, later identified as Jerry Vlasak, was handcuffed, and detained despite attempts to resist.
Because the members refused to leave the store after being asked repeatedly, and the fact they were physically assisted in leaving the business, protestors who had remained on the scene were arrested for trespassing after warning. Among those arrested include Jenna Upchurch, Trey Morrow, Jessenia Villanueva, Tatyana Gaputina.
Police said one person ran away before being detained. The rest were booked into the Al Cannon Detention Center.
Upchurch was given a $465 bond during an appearance Wednesday afternoon.
Editor’s note: booking photos were available for only three of the members arrested at the time of this report.