The group contracted to conduct a racial bias audit of the Charleston Police Department is near is nearing the conclusion of their study. The group, CNA, will be holding a series of public meetings Sept. 18-19 to share the results of the audit and their suggestions moving forward.
The first meeting will be held from 6:30-8 p.m. on Sept. 18 at Wesley United Methodist Church downtown (446 Meeting St.), the second meeting will be the following day, Sept 19 from 9-10:30 a.m. at Bible Way Baptist Church in West Ashley (2019 Savage Rd.), and the final meeting will be held the same day from 12-1:30 p.m. at St. James Presbyterian Church on James Island (1314 Secessionville Rd.).
According to a press release, CNA invites all residents of Charleston to attend one of the meetings to hear about findings, discuss key points, and ask questions and provide direct feedback.
In March, CNA hosted community meetings at which they heard from the community about their experience with the Charleston Police Department.
According to the city website, this audit was made possible when Charleston City Council voted unanimously on Dec. 18 2018 to allow the Charleston Police Department to hire CNA to examine the police department’s policies and procedures in a number of areas, including the use of force, traffic stops and field contacts, complaints, recruitment, and community engagement.
“It is my vision and desire to emerge from this process even stronger than we already are, both internally and externally,” Chief Luther Reynolds said.
This audit and others like it stem from the shooting of an unarmed black man, Walter Scott, in North Charleston in April 2015, by Michael Slager, a former North Charleston police officer.
At that time, and amid a wave of highly publicized police violence against black Americans, the Obama Justice Department initiated a racial bias audit of the North Charleston police. In 2017, Trump administration Attorney General Jeff Sessions scaled back operations of the Community Oriented Policing Services office and the audit was never completed.
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