NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The community is weighing in on the preliminary findings of the North Charleston Police Department’s (NCPD) Racial Bias Audit, leading to a call for change within the system. The calls come as Wednesday was the start of community presentations by CNA, the independent auditor, as a way to ensure the community’s voice is heard.
While the data collection has been completed after nearly 5 months of research, revision and additional recommendations can still be made to the drafted report.
The independent group, CNA, finding that the black community made up almost 60% of the arrests in the City of North Charleston over the last few years, and findings show 2 out of every 3 use of force incidents in the city involved black community members. While the data is newly gathered, many say it’s a story they’ve known all along.
CNA gathering their research from general orders from instances of over-policing to unnecessary stops that the community referred to as “driving while black”.
Syas said since she has been in North Charleston, she has been pulled over by police more times than she can count.
Despite the personal accounts and data, the idea that policing could be anything other than that, still remains. One resident said, “I think North Charleston Police are probably just dealing with a societal problem that is involved in the culture and not based off of bias or racism”.
While a divide was present, all were in agreement that more time was needed to digest the data and a larger effort was needed to inform the community of meetings down the road.
Syas explained with some in the community continuing to operate with flip phones, simply putting something online or on Facebook does not work with the North Charleston community. Despite a need to improve communication, residents say for this audit, they are hopeful for change.
She said, “CNA is actually staying on and they are going to actually help with the implementation that they’ve outlined—so that gives me more hope”.
CNA says their public comment period will remain open through next month.
For the full drafted report, click here.