CHARLESTON, SC – The two day South Carolina United Leadership Conference is being held at The Citadel this week and one aspect of their conference was “Community Policing in the 21st Century.”
Panelists from the North Charleston Police Department, the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, a CNN contributor, and civil rights activists from the National Action Network shared stories of what they do and also suggested solutions to violence, and the current divide between local people and police.
At one point during the forum, Assistant Chief of the North Charleston Police Department, Reggie Burgess, apologized to the crowd for the April 4th shooting of Walter Scott by former North Charleston police officer, Michael Slager. But Burgess also focused on black-on-black crime plaguing North Charleston. “Tell me who’s to blame? Homicides…eight already in our city! Every last one of them is black, and every last perpetrator is black.”
Tuesday, members of the community had a chance to ask some of the top law enforcement officials in our area questions about how they police the Lowcountry.
“We must recognize and identify that we do have a problem in our black community,” explained Major Eric Watson of the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office.
Anthony Wright, better known as “Tony the Peanut Man,” grew up in Charleston and says it is up to the people, not police, to curb crime and to make a real difference.
Wright told News 2, “You know the drug dealers in the neighborhood. Not only black neighborhoods but in white neighborhoods, any neighborhood! And if you want it under control, ask yourself, ‘What are you doing?’”
Wright and dozens of others offered solutions to some of the race and policing issues facing our country and our region.
Some suggested solutions were holding neighborhood communities, instead of police, more accountable for violent crimes; gaining trust within those neighborhoods; and hiring more African American officers to police certain areas with higher crime rates.
The flyer below has more detials about the South Carolina United Leadership Conference.