Civil Rights Groups Seek DOJ Shootings Inquiry

     (CN) – Several civil rights groups in Charleston, S.C. called on the U.S. Department of Justice to look into fatal shootings by police in the area going back decades.
     During a press conference at North Charleston City Hall, local chapter of the NAACP, the Tri-County National Action Network and a group called People United to Take Back Our Community said the recent shooting of an unarmed black man in the community raised new concerns about the lack of prosecution of police officers after similar events down through the years.
     They noted that before a cellphone video emerged showing Officer Michael Slager gunning down Walter Scott as he ran from a traffic stop, the case appeared to be largely settled – Slager initially claimed he had felt threatened by Scott and shot him in self-defense.
     “It is commonly believed in the African-American community … that law enforcement agencies have deliberately filed false police reports, tampered with evidence, turned a blind eye to the facts of their investigations and launched cover-up campaigns in order to avoid prosecution for their acts of violence,” the groups said in a written statement.
     “In spite of the police department’s unwavering supprt of former Officer Michael Slager’s version of the encounter, the truth was suddently revealed when a video recording of the incident surfaced three days later,” the statement continues.
     They characterized these actions as evidence of a “Blue Wall of Silence,” and though emphasizing that they support “good police,” they want the Justice Department to investigate 17 officer involved shootings.
     A spokesperson for the Justice Department said the agency would review any requests that are submitted to it.

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