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Lowcountry civil rights group takes on illegal guns, claims of police profiling

NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) -

In a news conference Monday, civil rights group the National Action Network, or NAN, called on the lowcountry community to help get illegal guns off the street.

The group also called for the "dismantling," of the North Charleston Police Department, in what they described as "racial profiling at its best."

The claims addressed the number of blacks pulled over during a traffic stop in the city of North Charleston.

According to numbers from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, between July 2010 and July of 2015, overall, blacks were stopped nearly twice as often as whites.

The figures only referenced people pulled over by police during a traffic stop, but did not include those ticketed or arrested.

Of the 142,175 stops, black men made up 41% of stops, black women 24%, while white men made up 21%, and white women, 12%.

Hispanic men and women accounted for one percent or less of the total number of stops.

"When people tell me in West Ashley that they do not allow their kids in North Charleston because they were afraid of the stops, do you believe us now," said Elder James Johnson, state president of the National Action Network.

Into the afternoon Monday, a spokesman with North Charleston police said the department was working to deliver a response.

The National Action Network also announced plans to begin a statewide campaign to organize a gun buy back event, in an effort to get illegal guns off the street.

"We know when you have a 13, 14, or 18 year old who killed someone with a gun, we know they are not old enough to buy a gun," Johnson said,

The group is scheduled to meet with the Charleston County Sheriff's office Tuesday, to work out the logistics of a possible buyback event.

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