The feds are expected to announce a review of the North Charleston, South Carolina, police department Tuesday, according to a U.S. Justice Department news release.
The mayor and police chief in the city of 100,000 requested the review, saying the scrutiny stemming from the police shooting of Walter Scott had made its efforts to protect residents while respecting their rights “more urgent and challenging.”
“Trust and communication are essential for improvement, and, as you can imagine, the death of Walter Scott damaged trust and made communication more difficult,” the letter said. “Our efforts have uncovered some areas in which we could benefit from outside assistance. We hope that your office may now be in a position to facilitate that.”
Word that the Justice Department will conduct a review comes 13 months after former Officer Michael Slager fatally gunned down Walter Scott following an April 2015 traffic stop. Slager was caught on mobile phone video firing into Scott’s back as he fled.
While several cities have drawn criticism for their responses to police officers killing unarmed black men, North Charleston and South Carolina were largely applauded for their handling of the Slager case.
Slager was charged with murder shortly after the shooting. The police department then fired him, and a grand jury indicted him on the murder charge.
The South Carolina Legislature in June passed a bill mandating the use of body cameras. In October, the North Charleston City Council agreed to a $6.5 million settlement with Scott’s family.
And last week, a federal grand jury handed down an indictment.
“Every step along the devastating story of Walter Scott has been history,” Scott family attorney L. Chris Stewart said.
Slager has pleaded not guilty to both the local and federal charges. His defense team has said he shot Scott after the two tussled over Slager’s Taser.
Unlike widely publicized reviews in Cleveland, New Orleans and Ferguson, Missouri, this review is not being conducted out of the Justice Department’s civil rights division. Rather, Monday’s announcement came from the department’s Community Oriented Policing Services office, which is “responsible for advancing community policing nationwide.”
U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles, COPS Chief Noble Wray, Mayor R. Keith Summey and Police Chief Eddie Driggers are expected to attend Tuesday’s announcement.
A call and an email to North Charleston police spokesman Spencer Pryor were not immediately returned.
In February, the Justice Department announced a COPS review of the San Francisco Police Department, saying that city officials and community members had requested an examination of the department’s “use of force policies and practices.”
At the time, a news release said, the COPS office was providing “collaborative reform” in Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Spokane, Washington, St. Louis County, Missouri; Salinas, California, Fayetteville, North Carolina and Calexico, California. It had just completed the process in Las Vegas, it said.
CNN’s Martin Savidge and Devon M. Sayers contributed to this report.