DOJ Proposes Citizens Advisory Commission in North Charleston, S.C.

The U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Office has proposed a citizens advisory commission to ease tensions between police and the community. 

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC - APRIL 08: People participate in a rally to protest the death of Walter Scott, who was killed by police in a shooting, outside City Hall on April 8, 2015 in North Charleston, South Carolina. Richard Ellis/Getty Images

Seeking to improve relationships between the community and police, a proposal for a citizen’s advisory committee will be presented to North Charleston next month.

The U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Office will present the proposal for the North Charleston Citizen’s Advisory Commission on Community/Police Relations Nov. 4 at Royal Baptist Church in North Charleston, the Charleston Post and Courier reports.

The effort to improve community and police relations comes after years of racial tension in the city, most recently following the April 2015 shooting of Walter Scott by a former North Charleston police officer.

As The Root previously reported, Scott, 50, was pulled over by former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager. After a brief scuffle, Scott ran away from the officer, and Slager shot Scott in the back, killing him.

Slager previously claimed that Scott had grabbed his Taser from him. An eyewitness captured video of the shooting, which showed Slager first placing his Taser by Scott’s body, and then picking it up and putting it back by in his holster.

Protests followed Scott’s shooting.

The advisory commission, which would include a 25-member body was created by a working group that included Walter Atkinson, a community relations expert from the U.S. Department of Justice, North Charleston Police Chief Eddie Driggers, and Mayor Keith Summey. The goal of the commission is to improve communication between law enforcement and the community.

The proposal was approved by the North Charleston City Council on Aug. 18, but has drawn criticism from local groups and community leaders who say that the plan lacks adequate input from residents and won’t make much of a difference.

Read more at the Charleston Post and Courier.

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