Beating North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey in a mayoral election is a monumental task in any year, but in 2015 it will be more difficult than normal. Summey’s revitalization of the Park Circle area shows no signs of slowing down; in fact, the Beach Company has recently begun construction on a massive apartment complex steps away from the city’s quaint Olde Village district, a bustling business community anchored by some of the area’s most popular bars and restaurants. The Tanger-North Charleston Coliseum and Performing Arts Center area continues to grow while Boeing is in the midst of a large expansion at its Dreamliner factory. Just as important, Summey oversees a community that in many ways is the opposite of Charleston; it’s far from touristy, largely industrial and retail-driven, far more diverse, and in possession of an unmistakable blue-collar/middle-class vibe. These days, many, if not most, North Charleston residents are proud North Charleston residents.
But what really sets Summey apart this year is the way that he handled the tragic death of Walter Scott at the hands of a North Charleston police officer: Summey fired him. Now some might say that Mayor Summey only did so because the shooting was captured on tape, but they would be well-advised to remember that several other cop-related tragedies have been caught on tape to various degrees and those officers received the backings of their respective mayors and city officials when their crimes were crystal clear to the rest of the world. Not North Charleston. With that in mind, Keith Summey just might be the only mayor in America to do the right thing after a cop has killed yet another unarmed black man.
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