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North Charleston Police
Do you think that the North Charleston Police Department has taken appropriate steps towards reform a year after the Walter Scott shooting?
Local Response To Hate Crimes Must Go Beyond Vigils And Meetings, Says Dixon
7/13/2016 6:40:17 PM

Protesters march in New York after fatal police shootings of two black men
By Barney Blakeney

As communities across the country aggressively demonstrate their protests against the racial discrimination that produced the police shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile as well as the retaliatory ambush against police in Dallas, Texas that resulted in the deaths of five officers, protests on Charleston remained calm and almost tacit.

Continuing a trend that became characteristic of the local black community in response to inflammatory incidents of racism such as the cellphone recorded April 2015 video of police office Michael Slager back-shooting Walter Scott and the racially motivated hate crime murders of nine black worshippers at Emanuel AME Church two months later, Charleston responded to last week’s hate crimes with prayer vigils, solidarity marches and community forums. In contrast many throughout the rest of the country took to the streets and descended on halls of justice, police stations and blocked interstate highway traffic.

And while Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton courageously called out St. Paul police as racist, South Carolina Cong. Jim Clyburn and Sen. Tim Scott took relatively passive approaches to addressing the overt racism that continues an epidemic of police shootings of blacks across America. To date in 2016 more than 600 individuals have been killed by police in the U.S. Twice as many blacks are killed by police as whites.

Pastor Thomas Dixon, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in the November general election, said he thinks Charleston residents feel the same anger as others around the country, but something inbred, something in our DNA leads to acceptance and passivity. There is good leadership in terms of civil rights, but the masses among the population don’t become active whether its about racially motivated murder or voting, he said.

Dixon pointed to events he called ‘kum by yah’ moments saying while those events have an impact, more substantive approaches must come from them.

“Before Alton Sterling and before Philando Castile there was Walter Scott. And before him there was Denzell Curnell and others. We held meetings. But I’m tired of meeting,” Dixon said.

He noted that in North Charleston after the 2015 police shooting death of Walter Scott a group concerned about discriminatory police tactics presented the city’s administration with a list of demands to address their concerns. “We let the mayor off the hook,” Dixon said of North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey who last November was re-elected to a fifth term in office. “We have not forced the hands of those who hold power,” he said.

As good cops watch bad cops commit acts of depravity and racism, our local community has been derelict in its responsibilities, Dixon said. “Sooner or later there’ll be another Walter Scott incident, maybe even another Emanuel 9. And we’ll have vigils and hold hands and go back to business as usual,” Dixon said.

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