Activist removed from meeting, charged with disorderly conduct

Muhiyidin Elamin Moye hugs his sister Kim Duncan after being released from Al Cannon Detention Center on Thursday. Michael Wiser/Staff

The leader of the local Black Lives Matter movement was arrested after disrupting a North Charleston City Council committee meeting Thursday.

Muhiyidin Elamin Moye, 31, of Charleston, also known as Muhiyidin d’Baha, was charged with disorderly conduct, according to the booking report. He is being held on $470 bail.

Moye was removed by four or five officers from the City Hall conference room where the Public Safety Committee was meeting. About 10 members of the group followed, chanting, “This is what democracy looks like.”

City Councilman Mike Brown trailed them, telling The Post and Courier he wanted to make sure that Moye was OK.

Moye complained of wrist pain and was checked out by emergency medical personnel, police spokesman Spencer Pryor later said.

Members of the local Black Lives Matter group went to City Hall in observance of the group’s national “Day of Action” event, according to a Facebook post. The police department had extra troops at City Hall for the event as a safety precaution, Pryor said.

Representatives hoped to speak at the committee meeting to renew demands for a citizens’ review board with subpoena power and community oversight over the North Charleston Police Department, according to a meeting notice.

Three group members signed up to speak, but at committee meetings, input is allowed only on agenda items or committee business. The Public Safety Committee’s agenda on Thursday included a request for a speed hump and three issues having to do with land use/zoning.

Group members said they had called City Hall and were told they would be allowed to speak. But Public Safety Committee Chairman Bob King said Moye approached him just before the meeting started and King told him then he could not speak.

Then, as the committee completed its agenda and was about to adjourn, Moye stood up.

“We would like to bring forward the issue that we still don’t have a citizens’ review board,” he said, as he was quickly ruled out of order and gaveled down by King.

“That gavel’s not going to work,” he said. “One of the things that we would like to bring to council’s attention ... there is a big charade that is happening with the citizens’ advisory council. It didn’t actually have any citizen engagement within it.”

Several officers then approached him, pushing him from the room as he rallied other group members to chant and follow him.

It’s been more than a year since anyone with Black Lives Matter was recognized to speak at a council meeting, city officials said.

Group members addressed City Council several times in the first couple of months after Walter Scott, a black man, was shot to death after fleeing a traffic stop on April 4, 2015, by white police Officer Michael Slager. He got into a scuffle with Scott and said the motorist took his Taser. As Scott tried to run away, the officer shot him in a scene captured on a cellphone video. Slager was charged with murder and is awaiting trial.

In the wake of the group’s demands for a citizens’ oversight committee with subpoena powers, which Summey called unreasonable, Summey and Police Chief Eddie Driggers asked the Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services to take a look at the police, identify what’s working and what isn’t, and make recommendations.

At two community hearings in June, Justice Department and North Charleston officials presented a draft plan on the formation of a citizens board to advise police officials.

Moye attended the committee meetings where the document was drafted and the community meetings, Pryor said.

The draft calls for members to be selected and appointed by city officials, with each City Council member appointing a district member to serve, the mayor making an appointment and two student students from area high schools also chosen. Founding members of a police panel formed in North Charleston in 2008 also can continue to serve on the new board or be replaced by Driggers if they choose not to continue, according to the draft.

Some of the qualifications for members are that they reside in the city and that they not have a felony conviction or more than one misdemeanor.

The community board will not have the power to oversee the police, as some activists have suggested, Summey said.

“It’s going to take more than just law enforcement,” he said. “But I will never let a citizens group come in and direct how we run the Police Department.”

Reach Brenda Rindge at 843-937-5713.