North Charleston assistant police chief apologizes for Walter Scott shooting

RAW VIDEO: North Charleston assistant police chief apologizes for Walter Scott shooting
Burgess talks about the shooting of Walter Scott. (Source: Live 5 News)
Burgess talks about the shooting of Walter Scott. (Source: Live 5 News)

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - North Charleston Assistant Police Chief Reggie Burgess apologized for the the fatal shooting of Walter Scott.

Burgess made the apology during a community forum at Burke High School Wednesday night when he was asked if culture had anything to do with the image of a police department.

Burgess answered first by saying that said he loves the City of North Charleston.

He then talked about the April 4 incident when former North Charleston PD officer Michael Slager shot Walter Scott.

"I love my city, I want to work for my city and I would not be involved with the department if the whole entire department was all that bad. We got some people doing the wrong things. I'll admit that. I want to apologize to you all for what happened on April 4. I want to apologize to you all. I got no problem with that. Because I've been doing [my job] for 28 years and I understand how it works. But I'm not going to let one individual stop me from getting it done. I'm not." 

April 4 will mark one year since Scott was killed.

Events like that were front and center of the conversation Wednesday evening at the South Carolina United Leadership Conference at Burke High School.

Local law enforcement and community leaders discussed how to get everyone to work on the same team.

They also caught a lot of heat.

"You tell me who's to blame," Burgess said. "Eight homicides already in our city. Every last one of them of them, black, every last perpetrator, black."

It was a conversation that struck chords for many, as tragedies like the Emanuel AME church shooting, Walter Scott's death, and others were brought into the limelight.

Assistant police chief Burgess talked about when two North Charleston mothers were murdered at their front doors within hours of one another.

"Five o'clock in the morning, the first of 2014, knock knock knock," Burgess said. "He knocked on the door. The mother walked and opened the door. Bam! Bam! No less than an hour later, did the same thing, knock knock. The lady opened the door, bam! Shot her."

Highlighting the problems, they hoped to work toward a solution.

"Law enforcement now has to adapt to the community," Charleston County Sheriff's office spokesman Major Eric Watson said. "In other words, you have to understand the people we want to serve and protect."

Law enforcement agencies like the Mount Pleasant Police Department, the North Charleston Police Department and the Charleston County Sheriff's Office had representatives there. Local activists were represented, with Elder James Johnson with National Action Network there, and others.

"Every mother should be a mother to a child in the community, every father should be a father," said one woman in the audience.

Many came hoping to make a difference.

"There was one point in my life I created this mess," Poppa Smurf said. "I was involved in the drug trade for many years. "So, I became the change I wanted to see in others."

Ex-cons, mothers, children, local leaders were all in the same room working toward a better future.

"The police department has to understand the community," CNN contributor Harry Houck said. "But, I think the community also has to understand the police."

There was a lot of tension and disagreement. But ultimately, everyone had the same goal: a better future.

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