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Do you think that the North Charleston Police Department has taken appropriate steps towards reform a year after the Walter Scott shooting?
 
New Protest Consortium Formed In Scott Killing, Methodist Bishops Join The Effort
Published:
6/3/2015 4:06:42 PM


(l-r) Rev. Cathy D. Mitchell, Rev. Joseph A. Darby, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Rev. Wendy Hudson-Jacoby, Rev. Keith Hunter Rev. Robert E. Kennedy at press conference June 1, 2015 at St. Peters AME Church. Photo: Joel Woodhall
 
By Barney Blakeney

  
Two months after North Charleston police officer Michael Slager shot 50-year-old Walter Lamar Scott in the back after a traffic stop, protests seeking justice for him and other Black men killed by police under questionable circumstances continues.
  
The first protests were held several days after a video showed Slager taking a three-point shooting stance and firing eight rounds at a fleeing Scott who was hit by five rounds. Prior to that, Slager contended he shot Scott during a struggle for Slager’s taser.
  
Since Scott’s death protesters have mounted continual challenges to the city’s administration demanding various concessions. Among those requests are demands for a special prosecutor and a citizens review board with subpoena power.
  
Challenges to authorities have included civil disobedience as well as orderly protests conducted by various groups. International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1422/MUSC Healthcare Workers United co-ordinators have been working to organize protesters into a cohesive group.
 
Those efforts have culminated in the formation of the North Charleston Civil Coalition for Reform (NCCCR), a consortium of community and advocacy groups that include civil rights organizations, neighborhood associations, activist groups and individuals.

The consortium will conduct a 6 p.m. June 8 town hall meeting at Bethel AME Church located 1900 Dakota St. off Remount Road in North Charleston. The consortium also is asking to be allotted time during North Charleston’s June 11 city council meeting to present its lists of recommended reforms to North Charleston Police Department and city government.

Those reforms include ending racial profiling, establishing a community-based police oversight panel, firing officers with multiple credible complaints against them and diversification and inclusion in hiring and procurement.

And Monday a coalition of Methodist bishops announced a June 3 mass prayer meeting at St. Peters AME Church in North Charleston to seek unity and justice in the deaths of Scott and other Black men across South Carolina and the nation. Bishops participating included AME Seventh District Bishop Rev. Richard F. Norris, AME Zion South Atlantic District Bishop Rev. Kenneth Monroe, CME Bishop Rev. James B. Walker and UMC South Carolina Conference Bishop Rev. Louis J. Holston.

Spokesman for the bishops, Rev. Joseph Darby, said the bishops felt they needed to do something as more people begin to talk to each other who in the past have not. And it is important in that discussion questions such as training for officers be addressed. The initiative is a way for the faith community to speak with a more united voice which says it stands up for justice, Rev. Darby said.
 

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