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In July 2017, the Institute released It Matters if You’re Black or White: Racial Disparities in the Handling of Complaints Against North Charleston Police Officers, detailing the findings of a comprehensive review of citizen complaint reports filed against North Charleston Police Department (NCPD) officers.  TMI staff analyzed over 300 citizen complaints from 2006 through 2016 and found that Black residents were more likely to file complaints against officers than their White counterparts, and complaints filed by Black residents were sustained at a much lower rate.  We also found that NCPD conducts inadequate investigations in response to citizen complaints, as complaint reports are often missing critical information and rarely note whether disciplinary actions were taken against offending officers. 

In addition to releasing the report, TMI and our North Charleston partners sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office urging the agency to complete and release its comprehensive and independent assessment of NCPD’s policies and practices that it began in May 2016.

“Our report confirms the views of Black residents: they are disproportionately mistreated by police, yet their complaints are not adequately documented or addressed.”

Sherrilyn Ifill, LDF President and Director-Counsel