Chief Reggie Burgess encourages North Charleston city council to approve racial bias audit

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Elected officials and civil rights groups, like the National Action Network, have been calling on the City of North Charleston to conduct a racial bias audit after a video surfaced last month showing a North Charleston police officer using, what some are calling, excessive force.

At a meeting Wednesday, North Charleston police chief Reggie Burgess gave a presentation encouraging city council members to approve an assessment.

“What I did today was basically looked at the group that I felt could do a holistic review of the police department and assess us and cover all those spots,” said Chief Burgess.

Traffic stops, use of force, training, and other topics would be looked at in the audit if city council approves.

Chief Burgess found inspiration in another lowcountry agency’s audit.

“I mimicked the City of Charleston’s audit,” said Burgess. “Everything I presented today was the same thing the City of Charleston’s audit has in it.”

Several community members spoke at the meeting who were favor of the audit, some wondering why it hasn’t already been done.

“I’ve never had anything to hide because I feel like if you’re hiding something, then you’re doing something wrong. And that’s not me,” said Chief Burgess.

Another speaker asked the audience to stand if they support an audit and almost everyone was on their feet.

City council decided to continue the conversation at a later date and take a look at a few other organizations before selecting one to conduct the assessment.

Chief Burgess recommended the independent organization, Police Foundation.

One message was clear in the chiefs presentation. He wants to bridge the gap between the police department and the community.

“If we work with our community the way we’re supposed to…partnership, fellowship, relationship…The crime will reduce itself,” said Burgess.

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