Charleston leaders discuss racial equity and criminal justice reform

Local News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston City leaders say they’re one step closer to bridging the gap between law enforcement and the community.

The Charleston Equality, Inclusion, and Racial Conciliation Committee met for nearly two hours Monday night, talking racial equity and criminal justice reform.

The agenda for the meeting didn’t stray away from tough topics:

“We understand that things have to happen, police have to uphold the law, protect and serve and so forth, but are their measures that can take place. That we can address things differently? Most certainly.”

Michael Better, Chair of the Criminal Justice Reform special group

Michael Better is a community leader, activist and also the Chair of the Criminal Justice Reform special group. Better says that the group is advocating for more community involvement, for example, in assisting law enforcement in de-escalating tense situations.

Much of the conversation centered around the protests this summer:

 “In the case of Marion Square, there were elements that were used such as of course the less than lethal rounds, whether that be the rubber bullets or pepper spray, and the idea behind this is to say that there are ways and measures that we can go about addressing these things, that are still effective, but not in the idea that it’s coming off from a racial standpoint, or an injustice standpoint.”

Michael Better, Chair of the Criminal Justice Reform special group

Despite the work already done, Better says the group still has a ways to go:

“The goal of the group is not just to present ideas, but to actually see solutions.”

Michael Better, Chair of the Criminal Justice reform special group

The group will meet again soon, and has 90 days to submit a formal proposal.

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