Anne Emerson, ABC 4 News
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCIV) — The North Charleston Police Department took new steps to address accusations of racial bias, stemming from a video of excessive force in an arrest back on May 9.
In the video, three officers are seen throwing a handcuffed man, Joshua Lewis, against the wall of a hotel.
On Wednesday, NCPD officials announced that the officers involved are now facing disciplinary action for this incident, with additional critical incident training as well.
North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey says he’s formed a committee to look at the issue of racial bias.
Mike A. Brown, a North Charleston council member, said he asked the Mayor for this committee to be formed.
Brown says he thinks there is enough support now to move forward with a racial bias audit of the North Charleston Police Department.
Reverend Nelson Rivers is with the Charleston Area Justice Ministry. He says North Charleston does not need this hanging over its head.
Specifically. another incident, this time with Joshua Lewis, another question raised regarding police practice.
“When Walter Scott was murdered, we tried to get them to take a look at themselves. The reason it’s called a racial bias audit, it’s specifically looking for incidences, patterns and systems that lead to racial bias in policing,” said Rivers.
Now Mayor Summey said it’s time to take a deeper look.
“I’ll be announcing to council that I’ll be forming a committee, five members that will be looking at the choices that we have and what they think would be the best for us to use working with Chief (Reggie Burgess) once he gets cleared.”
This committee may not be able to meet for up to 30 days due to the Chief’s exposure to COVID-19 over the weekend, but the wheels are in motion, Summey said.
Brown will be joined by fellow lawmakers Rhonda Jerome, Sam Hart, Jerome Heyward, and Bob King. They are charged with making recommendations to the council.
He hopes the group can find a third-party company to audit the police department.
A recommendation the City Council’s own Citizens’ Advisory Commission was made unanimously to the Council just last year.
“These questions will continue to be asked until there is some sort of audit done to put people minds at ease,” says Citizens’ Advisory Commission Chairman Dan O’Neal.
Read the original article here.