N. Charleston police address questions about response in shooting death

VIDEO: N. Charleston police address questions about response in shooting death
Bernard Mackey (Source: CCSO)
Bernard Mackey (Source: CCSO)

NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) - North Charleston police responded Tuesday to questions about their response to reports of an altercation that ended in a fatal shooting.

Police answered accusations made hours earlier by the family of a 38-year-old woman who was found dead of a gunshot wound Friday.

Quadeedrah Clinton's family argued police did not do enough to prevent her death. Clinton was found shot to death on the sidewalk of Iris Street outside her home. Police later arrested her boyfriend, Bernard Mackey, 51, who is charged with murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime.

"I would rather bond her out of jail, then be preparing myself for a funeral," said Rushia Robertson, Clinton's friend.

Robertson questions why neither Clinton or Mackey were arrested for the disturbance calls made to dispatchers Friday morning.

North Charleston Deputy Police Chief Scott Deckard told reporters police responded three times to the apartment Clinton was staying in the night she died.

The first time, he said, was at approximately 2:17 a.m., when both Clinton and Mackey said they wanted the other to leave. Mackey made the call, he said, but Clinton came on the line during the call. When police arrived, they were able to diffuse the situation, he said, by separating the two parties.

"There were some indications from her that he had done some things to her, and there were some things he said she had done to him," Deckard said.

"He popped my stitches on my arm," Clinton said in the first 911 call to dispatchers.

Deckard said Mackey left the apartment at the same time the officers did to go somewhere else to stay for the rest of the evening.

The second time was at approximately 2:45 a.m. when Mackey phoned dispatchers to say Clinton would not leave the apartment and asked what he should do, Deckard said.

"She scratched me on my neck and pulled a knife at me,"  Mackey said in the second 911 call to dispatchers.

A neighbor told police he or she would take care of Mackey for the evening and Mackey walked off with that neighbor.

Then at 3:47 a.m., Clinton called 911, police say, to report Mackey was still outside the apartment. Police say they found him asleep in his car.

"I want to know why if y'all came out there the first time, I can understand you let them go their separate ways, but if you come out there a second time why wasn't either both of them arrested?" said Jacqueline Smith, Clinton's older sister.

Deckard said when officers responded they weren't able to find enough proof to take anyone into custody.

"There's no certain guidelines that if 'A' [happens] then you have to do 'B'," he said. "It's all based on what the officers are told, the officers observe, and their general sense of the whole situation."

Police released recordings of the three calls, saying that Mackey called twice and Clinton called once. The calls indicate that Clinton told police not to come in two of those calls.

A fourth call that morning came in at 5:53 a.m. about an unresponsive woman on the sidewalk outside the apartment, according to an incident report. That woman was identified as Clinton, who died of a single gunshot wound. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

"We can't change us responding three times, but for the next person or for somebody who has those fears, to call us, call any of the service providers that provide help for domestic violence," Deckard said.

He added in domestic violence situations, officers try to separate both parties to get a sense of what happened. But he said both Clinton and Mackey provided "blanket statements" about the arguments.

Deckard says officers get training in domestic violence calls. What can be tough, though, is knowing the history of repetitive calls from the same parties, he said. Asked if officers did the right thing by not taking anyone into custody, Deckard says officers made judgment call based on the facts available to them.

Victim's family, civil rights group demand answers on police response

Clinton's family members were joined at a news conference Tuesday morning by members of the National Action Network.

Clinton's family questioned whether enough had been done by police to prevent the killing.

Clinton's mother began to speak but hesitated, saying, "I can't do this," then stepped aside. Another woman then stepped up to speak and asked why nothing was done initially when police were called to the scene, especially in a domestic violence incident.

NAN members called for training for North Charleston police officers or a refresher in handling domestic violence-related calls.

An affidavit states police who were on the scene when Clinton was found dead said they were familiar with the victim and said they had responded to the apartment for three separate calls for verbal disturbances between Clinton and the man later identified as Mackey.

This is a developing story. Check back for additional details.

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