Confederate Flag Clash at South Carolina Statehouse Ends in Arrest

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
By Shamar Walters and Alexander Smith

A confrontation between dozens of protesters with competing views on the Confederate flag ended with one demonstrator arrested for disorderly conduct, officials said.

Nicholas Thompson, 25, from Irmo, South Carolina, was charged after "confronting a crowd of anti-Confederate flag protesters" in front of the Statehouse in Columbia, according to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety.

Around 30 people were marching against the flag, which has become the focus of national debate following the killing of nine black people by a white gunman at a church in Charleston earlier this month.

Around 15 vehicles driven by pro-Confederate flag supporters pulled up in front of the Statehouse and eight to 10 people got out and "began to engage in an altercation with the crowd," the SCDPS statement said.

Video footage taken by Timothy O'Driscoll, who told NBC News he was a friend of Thompson's, showed at least one vehicle flying the Confederate flag while stopped in the street alongside protesters.

O'Driscoll said his friend was trying to retrieve a flag that was taken from him by one of the demonstrators. In a caption alongside the video, O'Driscoll said he was among a group that "took a group of about 15 - 20 trucks and cars to circle the Statehouse and fly our flags."

He added: "What happened today was not what any of my friends or me were trying to accomplish."