Reynolds announced he has cancer in a 2021 video message | Credit: Charleston Police Department Facebook

Charleston Police Chief Luther Reynolds announced Wednesday he will be undergoing treatment for cancer.

In a video message published this morning and first reported by the City Paper, Reynolds said after a visit to the doctor four weeks ago for back soreness, he found out he had cancer.

Reynolds wrote in a memo to Mayor John Tecklenburg and city officials that after consultation with MUSC physicians, his “rigorous treatment plan” will include surgery and chemotherapy. No other details about his diagnosis have been provided.

“While this news was met with equal parts shock and sadness from myself and my family, it was also met with our collective resolve to confront this challenge head-on,” he said in the memo provided to the City Paper.

The chief said he’s confident the treatment plan will “guide me toward a cancer-free prognosis.”

Addressing Charleston Police Department (CPD) personnel, Reynolds said he will continue to serve in his capacity as chief, though an acting chief may step in if needed.

“There will be no break in service,” he said, thanking CPD employees for their continued work.

With his wife, Tecklenburg offered prayers as Reynolds and his family work through the chief’s treatment period.

“Too many families across our nation are touched by cancer, but we’re blessed here in Charleston to have access to some of the most cutting-edge medical treatments available, and it’s comforting to know that he’s in extraordinarily capable hands,” Tecklenburg said in a statement. “As the chief said, he’s a fighter, and I know that he’s up for this challenge with the grace of God.”

Reynolds was named chief in 2018, arriving in Charleston from Maryland, where he was assistant chief for Montgomery County Police Department, near Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

Since he became chief, CPD finalized a long-awaited racial bias audit and faced criticism for its handling of May 30, 2020 protests downtown. Some said CPD officers reacted too strongly while others felt there wasn’t enough of a response to destructive protests over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Some businesses along King Street sustained heavy damage as earlier peaceful protests devolved into violence late on May 30, but nobody was reported hurt during the incident.

Earlier this year, the department initiated new critical incident report dispatches, using police camera footage to document incidents of force by officers.

This is a developing story…