NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – North Charleston Police Chief Reggie Burgess is talking protests and the pandemic. This after he spent time in quarantine after possibly being exposed to COVID-19
North Charleston Police Chief Reggie Burgess returned to the office today after being in quarantine. And while he’s certainly excited to be back, he’s urging the importance of peaceful protests for the safety of citizens and the City of North Charleston.
“My whole entire family we are negative, no COVID-19, anything so just follow the directions and understand that this pandemic is real, it’s really real,” says Chief Burgess.
With the threat of COVID-19 behind him for now, Chief Burgess says his department will continue to support peaceful protests saying officers have even taken part in events but says there is no room for violent crimes.
“You know we cannot allow folks to victimize other people because they do not want to protest the rightful manner,” says Burgess. “So all of our protests and all our rallies and gatherings have basically been you know, good to go.”
Even with things staying mostly peaceful, Chief Burgess says his department is prepared to respond to protests if they do turn violent and work with the groups to make sure their voices are heard.
“Our department is about partnerships, you know fellowships, relationships because that’s what we’re about,” says Chief Burgess.
In terms of nationwide outrage, the chief says he found the death of George Floyd to be a senseless murder.
“Our department we do not practice that, the academy itself does not practice that,” says Burgess. “Right now as an agency, we are making sure that all of our officers are staying consistent with our policies and procedures.”
Many civil rights leaders have been calling for the department to perform a racial bias audit, Chief Burgess says city leaders, starting with Mayor Keith Summey, are taking actions to address the calls for an audit.
“He’s appointing five individuals and once that is done then as the chief of police, I will work along with those individuals and we will be able to work together to see what’s going on,” says Chief Burgess.
Chief Burgess says he will be at a rally on Saturday in North Charleston and says the department is prepared for any future protests both in North Charleston and surrounding areas.