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DOJ to unveil plan to improve relationships between North Charleston police and residents

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Police Officer Fatal Shooting

A bystander’s video recording shows Walter Scott, left, fleeing as Police Officer Michael Slager raises his weapon.

A proposal designed to improve relationships between North Charleston police and the city’s residents will be presented to the public next month.

The proposal would create a North Charleston Citizens’ Advisory Commission on Community/Police Relations. The effort follows years of racial tension in the city, including the fatal police shooting of Walter Scott on April 4, 2015.

The Department of Justice Community Relations Office will present the proposal from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 3 at Royal Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, 4761 Luella Ave.

The meeting comes after North Charleston City Council approved the proposal Aug. 18.

The advisory commission would include a 25-member body to improve communication between law enforcement and police. It was created by a working group that began meeting in May 2015 with Walter Atkinson, a community relations expert from the U.S. Department of Justice, North Charleston Police Chief Eddie Driggers and Mayor Keith Summey.

The proposal, which was revised after it was reviewed by the public, has drawn criticism from some community leaders, such as officials with the North Charleston NAACP and the

local Black Lives Matter chapter.

The local groups say the plan lacks adequate input from residents and that they don’t think it will make much of a difference.

Scott, 50, fled from a traffic stop and fought with former North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager before the officer shot him five times as he ran away. Slager said that Scott had grabbed his Taser before a bystander captured the shooting on video.

Reach Derrek Asberry at 843-937-5517. Follow him on Twitter @DerrekAsberry.

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