Committee moves closer to audit that will identify possible racial bias in police department

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A Charleston City Council committee moved a step closer Wednesday to hiring a firm that will identify possible racial bias in the police department.

The committee is made up of council members and city officials.

The Charleston Area Justice Ministry has made the most noise about the practices and policies of the Charleston Police Department.

It was the Justice Ministry that called for an audit of the department.

"I would say for me it's clear that there is racial bias," said Justice Ministry member Suzanne Hardie.

In November, Mayor John Tecklenburg agreed to hire an outside consulting firm to do the audit.

The auditing firm will look at several practices and policies of the police department. That includes traffic stops, use of force, recruitment and hiring.

"The audit doesn't fix it. The audit only identifies where the problems are," said Justice Ministry member Dr. June P. Murray.

"The end point is that we have a city where there won't be any racial bias," Hardie said.

A city spokesman says there haven't been any complaints of racial bias since January, 2015.

The audit will cover the last five years and will include the police's department's response and investigation of the complaints.

The audit also will happen under the leadership new police chief Luther Reynolds.

The Justice Ministry has a message for the new chief about the audit.

"Look at the results and listen to the recommendations and implement them," Hardie said.

City Council will ultimately decide the blueprint of the audit and which firm will be hired to do it.

Officials hope to have a firm hired by the end of July.

Copyright 2018 WCSC. All rights reserved.