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Civil rights leaders demand apology from N. Charleston mayor over 'retribution' comment

NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) -

Nearly a dozen civil rights leaders stood at the entrance of North Charleston City Hall demanding an apology from Mayor Keith Summey.

The group expressed disappointment and anger, following Summey's promise of "retribution" against groups that did not support him in his quest for re-election.

During his victory celebration last Tuesday, Summey said, "It was a rather nasty election and I will not forget the nastiness and there will be some retribution in the future for it.” 

North Charleston pastor Rev. Nelson B. Rivers III said he was disappointed with the comment, especially given Summey won the election.

"You should win with honor, and lose with dignity," he said.

Rivers, also Vice President of Religious Affairs for civil rights group The National Action Network, said the group viewed Summey's comments as a threat non-supporters would be excluded from certain city resources.

"That means he is deciding who gets livelihood, who gets resources, who gets jobs, who gets justice," he said.

In an email, a spokesman for the mayor's office offered the following response:  

"It's Veterans Day, today should be spent honoring our veterans, not making a political stand."

Ron Brinson, a North Charleston city councilman, said he attended Summey's election night celebration, and thought the remark was made in "the heat of the moment."

"The Keith Summey I know is not a vengeful person," he said.

Brinson added he understood how talks of retribution would upset city residents amid racial tension, following the shooting death of Walter Scott, an unarmed black man, by former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager.

Rather than retribution, Brinson added, the more productive conversation would be reconciliation.

The National Action Network also announced it would file a complaint with the Department of Justice over the remarks.

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