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      City leaders: 'Stand up Charleston' to crimes in the community

      Friday Charleston leaders announced the 'Stand Up Charleston' initiative against crime. (Brandon Geier/WCIV)

      By Natalie Caulancaula@abcnews4.com

      CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- "Stand up Charleston." That's the message the city's leaders are getting out about the bloodshed in the community. The message comes on the heels of three recent violent killings.

      "We've all seen the video of Marley Lion as he lay in his vehicle and read the stories, the brutal slaying of Maliek Byers and William Nelson III, and they have touched a chord in all of us that screams 'I must get involved,'" Charleston Mayor Joe Riley said.

      Lion was gunned down in his car in a West Ashley parking lot early this month. Maliek Byers was shot and killed on Hanover Street on June 14, and William Nelson was killed in the Crosstown area on June 24.

      Police Chief Greg Mullen says instead of blaming the police department following the tragic events, those in the community should also look within themselves for change.{}

      "It is critical. The people that live in this community care more about this community than any government entity cares about it," Chief Mullen said. "Stand shoulder-to-shoulder beside us and move forward and pass some bills and help us with providing some information."

      Chief Mullen says he knows there are members of the community who have information on the three most recent murders, including the Lion case. He hopes the initiative changes the vows of silence, the lack of communication and involvement.

      The initiative announced by city leaders, including Mayor Riley, Chief Mullen and 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson will bring together a coalition of community leaders and residents to create specific action steps that are supposed to build active engagement and support.

      "It might be talking to their neighbors. It might be handing out a flyer," initiative member Margaret Seidler said.{}"It might be calling the police when they see something suspicious. It's about being organized, having crime watch sessions."{}

      Seidler spear-headed the initiative in West Ashley about two years ago. The city is now using it as a model for the rest of the city, according to council member Aubry Alexander.

      Chief Mullen hopes people become involved and stop standing by as more and more violent crimes happen in the community. While he challenged the community to stand up, he too vowed the police department would be standing nearby.

      "We are here. We are ready, and we are eager...to do everything in our power to stop violent crime and to put those who are responsible in the place they need to be, which is jail," Chief Mullen said.

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