NAACP accuses North Charleston Police of racial profiling
By Nikki Gaskins
North Charleston, S.C. (WCIV)--It's a harsh accusation from the local chapter of the NAACP. The organization claims police are excessively stopping and ticketing minorities.
On Tuesday, the NAACP hosted a community forum in North Charleston to address the issue. North Charleston Police Chief Jon Zumalt was in attendance.
"We want to make sure our officers are acting right out there," stated Zumalt during the forum.
Zumalt addressed a large crowd at the Alfred Williams Community Center--many came looking for answers
"While there's a healthy respect for the police department, the way they go about doing the stops, and the way they go about talking to individuals, residents feel it is less than professional," stated A.J. Davis, a council president for the Chicora neighborhood.
He says police presence in his community is very strong.
"I think the community as a whole appreciates the presence of law enforcement; however, they don't want to feel as if they're being viewed as criminals," stated Davis.
"In the age group between 25 and 36-years-old, blacks were stopped 4,000 times last year as opposed to a thousand for the white majority," stated Edward Bryant, the president of the North Charleston NAACP.
Bryant says it's a trend that needs to stop.
"We got an individual that owned private property. Police went up on his property without a warrant and questioned him about his own residence," stated Bryant.
Zumalt denies targeting minority communities. Instead, he says his department targets areas of crimes.
"As an agency that's not our strategy to profile," stated Zumalt.
"If it was happening in a white neighborhood, shootings, that's where we'd be. If it was happening in a Hispanic neighborhood, that's where we'd be," said Zumalt.
Zumalt says his department only received two claims of racial profiling last year. Both cases were resolved.