Lexington County officials come together for online forum on policing, race relations

Updated: Jul. 9, 2020 at 11:51 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, S.C. (WIS) - The NAACP of Lexington hosted a community forum Thursday night to discuss a number of topics including policing and race relations in the county.

Both Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon and Lexington Police Chief Terrence Green took part in that conversation and provided their input on where their departments stand when it came to a number of topics.

The diverse panel included law enforcement officers, public officials, and religious leaders. The forum began with the topic of body cameras.

“It’s a great tool, but I think we need to go more than body cameras. So, we will see what technology does in the future,” said Lexington Police Chief Terrence Green.

The conversation quickly turned to a discussion on policing the police, which was a topic that dominated much of the event.

Attorney Annabelle Robertson suggested the idea of a citizen review board to help deal with incidents of misconduct.

“A citizens’ review board would allow the varied cases where there have been usually egregious situations such as a death or something like the death of George Floyd so the decision of the internal affairs would be reviewed by the public,” explained Robertson.

The members of the panel with law enforcement experience claimed transparency and community interaction have worked best for smaller departments. Dismissing the idea of a citizen review board.

“Anytime we have anything happen in the community that we think is gonna bring some bad light or there’s some questions, we bring the community in,” said Chief Green. “We once had somebody that said, ‘Hey, A-B-C happened and it did not happen. We brought the community in and said look at the video.”

“If you’re going to hold someone accountable, you’ve got to know what it’s like to be in those shoes,” said Representative Chris Wooten, a former state trooper.

Robertson says that claims like those make her skeptical.

“It makes me wonder, ‘Hmmm, why would we not want to have a citizens review board? It’s certainly not that people cannot understand the job of a cop,” added Robertson. “If anything, I think people understand that more than they understand the average black man with a knee on his neck.”

You can watch the forum by clicking here.

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