NAACP reacts to story about cop's shooting
By Nikki Gaskinsngaskins@abcnews4.com
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- On Friday, North Charleston Police Chief Jon Zumalt met with the media to discuss an alleged shooting involving longtime officer, Sgt. Eddie Bullard.
"When we were out there we stated getting uneasy about the case," Zumalt said.
According to Zumalt, the 15-year veteran claimed two black suspects confronted him and shot him while he was conducting a building search outside a carpet store on Rivers Avenue during the early morning hours of July 4th.
"There wasn't any evidence of a struggle. We couldn't just find zero evidence. Nobody was calling us. We usually get tips," Zumalt said.
Bullard was transported to the hospital with injuries not believed to be life-threatening and released the following day. Zumalt says Bullard eventually admitted to making the story up and that he actually shot himself.
"He needs to be fired and should never be able to work in law enforcement again," said Dot Scott, the president for the Charleston branch of the NAACP. "A dishonest cop is a dangerous cop."
In the past, the NAACP has accused the North Charleston Police Department of racial profiling, and Scott claims this latest incident is just another example.
"I think it happens too often where we're finding that folks are alleging crimes that didn't happen, and then they're often identifying African Americans as the perpetrator," Scott said.
Scott hopes this incident within the police department serves as a wake up call to Zumalt to re-examine the credibility and truthfulness of his officers.
"Hopefully this does get the chief an opportunity to really look at the force that he's got," said Scott. "Unless we can be assured that the chief is doing everything he can to rid the police department of the bad apples, then the chief's apology isn't enough," Scott said.
Edward Bryant with the North Charleston branch of the NAACP commended Zumalt for apologizing to the community Friday and believes it to be a step in the right direction.
"That's maybe one of the few times that the police department has actually gone back and examined their own issues," Bryant said. "One of the things that we are going to have to start doing is perhaps find out the real facts, the real truth and go in-depth with the issue,"
Zumalt said Bullard has been suspended without pay, pending an internal investigation. He could also face charges by SLED.
"The police officer should be subjected to the same laws anyone else is subjected to," Bryant said.
Zumalt did indicate Friday that Bullard was going through a hard time in his life.
"We are worried about his psychological well-being. He's very troubled. Otherwise, nobody would do something like this," said Zumalt.
Bullard and his family declined to comment on the incident or continued investigation.