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Defending the Rights of Victims of Racial Discrimination in Charleston

The Charleston Racial Bias Audit of 2019 was authorized by a unanimous vote of the Mayor and the City Council in December 2018. They voted to allow the Charleston Police Department (CPD) to hire an external company, CNA, to examine police department policies and procedures in certain key areas, including use of force and traffic stops. Findings of the CNA audit include the following:

  • Racial disparities exist in traffic stop rates and search decisions during traffic stops in which a warning was issued.
  • CDP’s current data structure hinders analysis of trends in use of force and racial disparities at the individual level.
  • Members of the community feel that the CDP complaint process is illegitimate, and they lack confidence that their complaints will be addressed.
  • There are concerns about a lack of diversity and inclusivity across specialized units and teams of CPD.
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- Julian Allen

History of Police Racial Discrimination in Charleston

Charleston and North Charleston lead the state in racially discriminatory traffic stops, as reported by the Charleston Area Justice Ministry (CAJM). African Americans are stopped nearly three times more than Whites. More stops for minor violations that do not result in a citation are conducted in the Low Country region than anywhere else in South Carolina. In a five-year period, there were 127,000 of these stops in Charleston and 130,000 in North Charleston, while Columbia (of comparable size) only had 33,000.

Findings in a report published by the College of Charleston noted racial disparities and their link to economic inequality in South Carolina from 2000 through 2015. The call for an audit stemmed from a growing demand in the community to address concerns about racial bias in CPD’s practices and procedures.

What Race-Based Misconduct Claims Do Civil Rights Attorneys Handle in South Carolina?

Police officers are not above the law, and Americans no longer tolerate race-based police misconduct. Civil rights lawyers in South Carolina are handling cases based on claims of police misconduct toward African Americans, including:

  • Wrongful arrest or detention: It is an abuse of power for police to wrongfully arrest or detain citizens. Under the Fourth Amendment, we are guaranteed the right to freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. Police are prohibited from arresting a person without a lawfully issued warrant or probable cause to believe that person has committed or is committing a crime.
  • Unnecessary or wrongful use of force: In 2015 The State newspaper in Columbia identified 209 suspects in the previous five years who were fired at by police, resulting in 79 deaths, as reported by fivethirtyeight. Police Officer Michael Slager was charged with murder in the shooting death of Walter L. Scott when a video clearly showed the officer firing eight shots into the African American man’s back as he fled.
  • Denial of emergency medical care: Under the Eighth Amendment, prisoners and individuals in police custody are entitled to adequate medical care. Police denial of this right can result in illness, injury, or death.

Why Do You Need a Civil Rights Attorney If You Have Been a Victim of Police Misconduct?

If your civil rights have been violated by police misconduct in Charleston, it may be a challenge to win your case. Government entities have extensive resources to fight your claim, and the legal system may be prejudiced in their favor.

At Allen Law, we strongly believe that police should be held accountable when they violate rights guaranteed under the Constitution. Attorney Allen is a skilled negotiator and trial lawyer with an AV Preeminent® Martindale-Hubbell® rating. Call us at (843) 882-5005 to schedule a free consultation with no time limit. We can help you seek justice and compensation for police misconduct and racial discrimination.