Kingstree Police Department (KPD) Chief Andre Williams met with Hampton Apartment residents who are looking for answers to the criminal element that has taken over their complex. Williams held a Town Hall meeting April 1, at the Frank H. McGill Complex in Kingstree, where a handful of concerned residents showed up.
Crime has become a normal part of their lives and after a January 20, shooting that left Ramone Demorre Whitfield, 28, dead but no arrests, they are looking for solutions. Williams has been in law enforcement for 26 years and joined the KPD in April 2018. He started the meeting with video footage captured on police body cameras during an April 15, incident. See below to view the video.
The videos show a parking lot overflowing with people. The scene was chaotic with the crowd yelling, touching the officers and ignoring their instructions. By nightfall three people were arrested on charges not connected to the original call. Williams added that many of the people weren’t residents of the apartment complex.
One resident at the meeting said she has never seen anything like it. “I’ve been here for 12 years and I’ve never seen it like this before,” said the elderly lady. “It’s dangerous.” A man agreed, “Most of us here, we have to live in the back of our house to find some peace.”
Williams said he has met with the site manager and they are considering imposing a curfew. A citizen said a curfew is in place but it has never been enforced. Williams said it would be now. “Somebody is going to get seriously hurt - it already happened - but more people are going to get seriously hurt,” said the former Chester Chief. “And the worst thing I don’t want to happen is to the young kids. They should have the opportunity to live too.”
Williams said he’s been in touch with other law enforcement agencies about providing additional resources. “If this continues - I already talked to the Sheriff - we’re going to bring them in, we’re going to have helicopters, it’s going to look like Christmas out there,” he said. “We’re going to pound that place until you get your home back.” He also informed the group that law enforcement has had no cooperation concerning the Whitfield murder. “Most of the time police respond after the fact. How we solve murders and different crimes is with the help of you all. But I’ve had zero cooperation from you all.” Williams pointed to the crowd and said they are not the ones that stand out as the crime element or hinder their job. “I’m happy you’re here and we’re here to help ya’ll.”
Town Manager Richard Treme referred back to the videos. “These pictures say more than words what these officers are going through,” said Treme who was Police Chief in the 1980s. “Once you get to that, something is going to happen.” He also agreed with Williams in their belief that the residents have the answers to solving Whitefield’s murder. “We want Hampton Place to be a good place to live, a good place to have your children...but how your living in right here - shouldn’t be. You have the ability to change this. The chief has the ability to change this.” Click here to view the video.
Anyone with information regarding the murder of Ramone Whitfield or to report suspicious activity can call the KPD non-emergency number ay (843) 355-8170. Callers do not have to reveal their identify.