[image-1]One year after the death of Walter Scott, members of the North Charleston community are still looking for ways to come to grips with what has happened.
Visiting the gravesite of his brother, Anthony Scott said it’s still a troubled time for the family, and the pain of losing a loved one remains an everyday part of life. Near the spot where Walter Scott was shot to death by a North Charleston police officer last April during a traffic stop, mourners and activists gathered to say a prayer and look back at what has changed over the past year — as well as what remains the same.
“It may not matter for other folks, but Walter Scott’s life did matter. It mattered so much that the state of South Carolina passed the only body camera legislation in the whole country,” said Rev. Nelson Rivers, before discussing the decline in traffic stops by the North Charleston Police Department. “The police department’s number have changed — dropped dramatically. We don’t know whether those numbers really point to a trend, but we cannot dispute that they changed dramatically.”
According to a recent article in the Post and Courier discussing what was called the “Walter Scott effect,” the average number of stops by North Charleston officers has declined by half in the past year alone.
As a group of mourners placed flowers and a photo of Scott near the location where he lost his life, Elder James Johnson of the National Action Network said the organization would be calling on North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey to purchase the empty property just off Remount Road and create a memorial park in Scott’s honor.
“Even if they have to take it by eminent domain, we want this to be a memorial park where people can come every year on the Walter Scott anniversary and not be kicked out by the owners,” Johnson said.
Members of the National Action Network are also requesting that a series of townhall meetings and community sessions be held in North Charleston, not just to discuss improving the relationship between city officials and citizens, but to also examine other problems ailing the community.
“This year, 2016, we will not let Mayor Summey and the City of North Charleston get away with anything anymore,” said Johnson. “ We want revitalization for our community. We want programs in our community. We want this, and we will not settle for anything less than that.”