Citizens Taking The Next Step To Retrieve COPS Report

September 28, 2017. The Chronicle.

A coalition formed since the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) announced it will not release its report on its assessment of the North Charleston Police Department initiated last year, is calling for community engagement to force the federal agency to produce the document.

A coalition of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Inc. (NAACPLDF), the North Charleston Branch NAACP, The Charleston Area Justice Ministry (CAJM), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Community Resource Center last week called on citizens to contact local, state and federal elected officials asking them to push for release of the COPS report.

Advocates call for release of federal report on North Charleston police

September 20, 2017. The Post and Courier.

Staking a public claim to a yearlong assessment of North Charleston police, local civil rights advocates demanded the review’s release, despite the federal government’s decision to abandon the effort.

Their call came days after the Department of Justice announced an overhaul of the Collaborative Reform Initiative at the agency’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, essentially excising the reform component.

The program’s end shouldn’t stop federal officials from releasing a document that could highlight shortcomings of the North Charleston Police Department and aid local reformers’ mission to bring lasting change, the advocates argued.

Group renews push for peer-based conflict resolution vs. traditional discipline in schools

June 26, 2017. The Lawrence Journal-World.

Renewing their earlier calls for transparency and accountability, members of Justice Matters are again urging the school board to consider implementing restorative justice in Lawrence schools.

Gary Schmidt, co-chair of the group’s racial justice steering committee, used Monday’s school board meeting to re-engage the board in a conversation that board president Marcel Harmon said began last spring surrounding racial justice. Restorative justice hinges on empowering students to resolve conflicts on their own through peer-mediated small groups, as opposed to more traditional disciplinary methods.

Charleston needs a qualified, independent police audit

June 18, 2017. The Post and Courier.

What should Charleston do about citizens’ repeated allegations of racial bias by police? Mayor Tecklenburg seemed untroubled by such reports in his May 30th Post & Courier column celebrating the city’s “racial progress.” He praised the police chief for leading the Illumination Project since 2015, a period of “remarkable forward motion for our police department and the community it serves.” He also noted that “an independent, third party bias-based policing audit” had just begun.

Charleston City Council could heed justice ministry’s call to hire new firm to audit police department

May 24, 2017. The Post and Courier.

Members of the Charleston Area Justice Ministry dominated the public comment period at the Charleston City Council meeting Tuesday, as they had during the previous three meetings, to repeat that the city hadn’t hired the right firm to identify racial biases in the Charleston Police Department.