The Rev. Al Sharpton is expected to be in North Charleston on Sunday for a church service and a vigil at the site where Walter Scott was shot and killed by a police officer less than a week ago.
Organizers say police from the region will be invited to attend the vigil, calling it an opportunity to recognize some of the problems of mistrust and the divide that exist between the North Charleston community and law enforcement.
“I think there are a significant number of police who know the shooting was wrong and agree with us that there should be more police accountability,” said North Charleston Pastor Nelson Rivers, a vice president in Sharpton’s National Action Network.
Sharpton is a controversial civil rights and New York media figure who has a history of advocacy in cases alleging racial prejudice and injustice.
Among his more recent causes were supporting the family of teenager Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black youth who was shot to death in Sanford, Fla., by George Zimmerman.
The case heightened the tension over issues of self-defense and racial profiling. Zimmerman was tried for second-degree murder and was found not guilty in the case.
Sharpton was also a presence during last year’s tension in Ferguson, Mo., after an unarmed black man, Michael Brown, was killed by a police officer there. A grand jury declined to indict Officer Darren Wilson after a lengthy investigation.
Rivers said Thursday that the vigil is still being organized but that the plan is for Sharpton to deliver a sermon Sunday morning at Rivers’ Charity Missionary Baptist Church on East Montague Avenue.
Later that afternoon, a clergy-supported gathering at the site where Scott was killed is planned. Among those who will be invited is North Charleston Police Chief Eddie Driggers, Rivers said.
Sharpton could not be reached Thursday. He currently is involved in the NAN national convention in New York.
The church service begins at 10 a.m.; Sharpton would speak about 11 a.m., Rivers said. More details are expected to be released Friday.