Commentary: North Charleston Police Department still needs a racial bias audit

March 31, 2020. The Post and Courier.

In his recent op-ed, North Charleston City Councilman Ron Brinson said the city’s police department had a “mind-numbing wake-up call” nearly five years ago after the murder of Walter Scott by then-Officer Michael Slager.

For many black residents, the killing of Walter Scott was not a wake-up call but rather another example of their continued lived experience. And had a video of the shooting been held a few days longer, we likely would have witnessed yet another police department declaring as justified the shooting of another black man.

Local Group Calls For More Frequency Along CARTA Bus Routes

March 2, 2019. The Charleston Chronicle.

Last week, the Charleston Area Justice Ministry (CAJM) along with the ACLU of South Carolina, Citizens Climate Lobby, Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit, Charleston Climate Coalition, and the Center for the Study of Slavery Social Justice Working Group held a press conference at the Cherokee United Methodist Church to show support for increased bus frequency. The average bus in Charleston runs on a frequency of once every hour making life extremely difficult for the 11,000 people who rely on public transportation every day, the group contends.

Last year, thousands of people gathered under the banner of CAJM to push for more frequent buses – specifically on North Charleston routes with high transit-dependent ridership. They are carrying that campaign into 2020.

How the fight for racial justice pushed Charleston beyond the segregated hour

February 24, 2020. Religion News Service.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (RNS) — On a Monday night in April 2016, more than 2,000 people packed into Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston. The crowd included black and white Christians, both Protestant and Catholic, as well as Reform Jews, Unitarians, local activists and other community members. They weren’t there for worship but to confront racial bias in policing practices.

The gathering was the culmination of months of work by the Charleston Area Justice Ministry, which began in the intimacy of private homes the previous fall. People shared stories of the concerns that kept them up at night. A common refrain, particularly of black residents, was being stopped by the police for no apparent reason. The practice, known as an “investigatory stop,” had led to the murder of a black man named Walter Scott by a North Charleston police officer.

Hundreds attend Charleston Area Justice Ministry assembly to discuss community problems

November 5, 2019. CountOnNews2.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Hundreds of community members attend the Charleston Area Justice Ministry’s 2019 Community Problems assembly to discuss issues in the Charleston area.

CAJM is a faith-based organization comprised of many different Christian, Jewish, and Unitarian members. Their mission is to “come together to make the Charleston area a more just place to live, work, and do business.”

Tonight’s assembly addressed four different areas in the community that CAJM feels need attention: Education, Policing, Housing and Transportation.

Group calls for racial bias audit of North Charleston Police Department

May 30, 2019. The Post and Courier.

A citizen’s commission has formally recommended that North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey and North Charleston City Council initiate a third-party racial bias audit of the city’s police department.

A separate City of Charleston police racial bias audit is underway. It is projected to be released in the fall.

The recommendation was suggested by the Charleston Area Justice Ministry and the North Charleston Citizens Advisory Commission on Community-Police Relations. The group met Tuesday night to vote on the motion, and it passed unanimously. It recommends that action be taken no later than Oct. 1, 2019.