NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - North Charleston's mayor denied a civic group's claims that enough wasn't being done to curb youth violence and said parents need to bear greater responsibility to solve the problem.
Mayor Keith Summey responded to demands made by the National Action Network at a Wednesday afternoon news conference that Police Chief Eddie Driggers resign.
In a video released Wednesday afternoon, Summey said it would "shock" people to learn of the number of activities available for youth.
"The problem is we can't raise your children," he said. "It is your responsibility to raise your children, and you have got to work with them, the community has got to work with them."
Summey said that by the time he was 11 years old and school was out for the summer, he was collecting bottles on the side of the road to raise spending money, shining shoes and selling produce on the side of the road.
"My parents made sure that I stayed active and stayed out of trouble," he said. "This is what it's going to take. We've got to come back to the fact that we are a family, we are a community, and we are citizens that have to work together. But each group has to take that responsibility and not shove it on the back of government. It has to be an acceptance of responsibility by all people on all sides."
At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, NAN state president Elder James Johnson claimed Police Chief Eddie Driggers and Mayor Keith Summey have ignored the black community.
Johnson demanded that the city work with the federal prosecutors and State Law Enforcement Division to get illegally obtained guns off the streets.
"There's too many guns that's flowing in our community and they don't give a darn about our black men being shot down in the street and we are not taking it anymore, not one bit," Johnson said.
Johnson also wants the city to spend $7 million dollars to bring back rehabilitation programs like STAND and D.A.R.E. STAND, which stands for Step Towards a New Direction, is a voluntary program for people who want to change their lives, according to the city's website. D.A.R.E. is a national education program taught in K-12 schools focusing on issues that include drug education, violence and bullying prevention and internet safety.
NAN has scheduled a town hall meeting on the gun issue for Thursday night at 6 p.m. in the park on Why Lane in Dorchester Terrace.
That area, NAN officials say, saw the most recent deadly shooting on July 2, when a 22-year-old man was fatally shot at the corner of East Surrey Drive and Accabee Road.
The victim, later identified as McGill Cason, was found lying on the ground next to his car suffering from a gunshot wound. He was taken to MUSC where he later died.
Police had not identified suspects in the incident, which marked the 23rd shooting fatality in North Charleston this year.