Community finds Charleston police racial bias preliminary report unsurprising

VIDEO: Community finds Charleston police racial bias preliminary report unsurprising

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston Police Department received a newly released report that details the role racial bias may play in the department’s policies and procedures.

The preliminary findings from a CNA audit showed 48 areas where the department could improve.

There were also recommendations provided for each.

Chief Luther Reynolds with the Charleston Police Department says the audit process started about a year ago. He says through this process the department has already started to improve some of the things mentioned in the initial report.

“There’s a lot of areas where we have room for improvement and we’re embracing the report and we’re kind of sorting through it now,” Reynolds said. “It’s something that we will be transparent about in terms of working with our communities.”

The report detailed issues like the department’s internal and external complaint process and possible racial disparities in traffic stops.

The team conducting the report also found that black drivers were pulled over a little more in traffic stops that ended in citations. Black drivers were also twice as likely to be searched when a warning was given.

Tamika Gadsden, a local community activist, says these findings aren’t surprising to her.

“If anyone is even remotely familiar with these issues, especially being from the African American communities, this is something that’s shared among a lot of families and community members,” Gadsden said.

She says although the findings are new, the issues have been going on for a long time.

In 2017, the College of Charleston’s Avery Research Center released a report detailing racial disparities in Charleston County.

Gadsden says she’s reassured that the police department is being transparent with these issues, but she believes nothing will change unless the community is involved.

“What I’d like more than anything is civilian oversight,” Gadsden said. “The people need to be empowered to have more of an active role in dictating how these police officers police our communities.”

City officials say the community will have 30 days to review the report before CNA finalizes it.

To submit your feedback, you can email CNA at smartjustice@cna.org or send via mail to the address listed below. CNA officials say all feedback must be provided by October 30, 2019.

Att. CNA Audit Team

CNA

Safety and Security Division

3003 Washington Blvd.

Arlington, VA 22201

Copyright 2019 WCSC. All rights reserved.