NAACP, activists continue push for federal bias probe of N. Chas. police

(FILE)

The North Charleston branch of the NAACP and the National Action Network continued calls on Tuesday for a federal investigation into what they described as discriminatory policing practices employed by the North Charleston Police Department.

A letter delivered Monday from national NAACP leaders to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch “identifies numerous examples of alleged use of excessive or lethal force by North Charleston police officers over the past 15 years, including: a 2011 incident involving officers who allegedly handcuffed Sheldon Williams, an African-American man, and stomped on his face multiple times causing facial fractures; and, a 2000 incident during which officers shot and killed Edward Snowden, an African-American man, who was attacked by four white men,” according to a statement read during a news conference by Ed Bryant, the NAACP’s North Charleston president.

The calls came more than three months after a white North Charleston police officer fatally shot Walter Scott in the back as the 50-year-old black man ran away during a traffic stop.

Asked whether he’s noticed any improvements in the department’s interactions with minorities following Scott’s death, National Action Network local president James Johnson said another black man was left beaten and with stitches after an encounter in recent days with North Charleston officers.

“Make no doubt, the NAACP and the National Action Network are united in this effort. ... We will not sit back and allow them to continue beating and killing people anymore,” Johnson said. “Them days are over.”

The U.S. Department of Justice already has announced it would examine Scott’s death for any civil rights abuses, but the federal authorities have not yet said whether they plan to broaden the probe.

Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908 or at Twitter.com/celmorePC.