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Commentary: Why we support a racial bias audit for North Charleston police

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Anthony Scott

Anthony Scott

Five years have passed since Walter Scott was taken from us. That murder cost us a father and a brother.

Five years might seem to some like enough time to heal, but our wounds are violently reopened with every video of another person killed by police.

Anthony Scott

After my brother Walter was killed in 2015 and charges were brought against former North Charleston police Officer Michael Slager, I hoped racial profiling would end in the city.

Instead, we continue to see residents profiled, harassed and abused. How many more lives have to be lost for things to change? It’s difficult to make changes if you are unwilling to admit there is a deeper problem. Unless we dig up these problems and expose the roots, they will show their ugly faces again.

My mother passed away earlier this year. She wished no other parent would feel the pain of losing a child, especially the way she did. I look at my own children and grandchild and pray such pain never touches us again. My father is 76, and I think about the many pains of racism he’s lived through. Then I look at my own granddaughter and wonder: What kind of world will we leave for her?

Every time I put on my Black Lives Matter T-shirt, there are more names to add: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks. So we continue to fight for a better world, starting with an audit of racial bias to shed some light on the darkness.

The next time I wear my Black Lives Matter shirt, I don’t want there to be more names to add. And when my granddaughter wears one in the future, I pray it won’t be in the middle of a protest still calling for accountability of the police but instead a true statement of her reality that, truly, Black Lives Matter.

We support the call for a racial bias audit of North Charleston police, and we welcome North Charleston’s step to finally move forward with the audit. We call on City Council to ensure the audit will examine all facets of policing, including traffic stops, use of force, search and seizures, and school resource officers.

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We also call for a transparent and inclusive process, ensuring that residents can participate in meetings virtually and have the option of giving feedback virtually as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Walter Scott Jr.

I am Walter Scott’s namesake. I saw many police shootings before my father was killed. I remember thinking the officers had poor decision-making skills, lacking real passion for protecting the people they swore to serve.

I always prayed this would never happen to me or anyone I knew. Never in a million years did I think my family would experience such a traumatic event that would haunt us for the rest of our lives. The June killing of Rayshard Brooks, shot in the back as he was running away from Atlanta police, was a painful reminder that a lot of other families are forever haunted by police violence.

For many people, my father’s memory is reduced to a horrific video, but his life was so much greater than that. Our family remembers him as a beloved man. We remember the moments we shared and are painfully aware of the moments he missed and will continue to miss.

This year our family planned to go on a cruise because the usual family reunion is bittersweet without my father. He was always the guy on the grill, playing games with the family as we all kicked back to relax and enjoy a great time together.

His cooking skills went beyond the grill; he would make breakfast every morning. I loved sitting down to a plate of food cooked by my dad. His presence is missed every day. These are the moments that made him human, the ones we remember. And these are moments that other families remember in the midst of their chaos and grief.

Anthony Scott and Walter Scott Jr. are Walter Scott’s brother and son, respectively.

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