Sharpton thanks mayor, police chief for response to shooting

Sharpton Praises SC Mayor for Handling Shooting
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- The Rev. Al Sharpton thanked the mayor and police chief in North Charleston, South Carolina for their response to the fatal shooting of Walter Scott during his sermon at a local church on Sunday morning.

Sharpton appeared at Charity Missionary Baptist Church, where mayor Keith Summey and Police Chief Eddie Driggers were among those in the congregation.

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Sharpton thanks mayor, police chief for response to shooting
Reverend Al Sharpton attends the Easter Prayer Breakfast in the East Room of the White House with U.S. President Barack Obama, not pictured, in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, April 7, 2015. Christian leaders from across the country join Obama at the breakfast to pray and reflect on Holy Week and Easter. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 08: Reverend Al Sharpton speaks at the National Action Network (NAN) national convention on April 8, 2015 in New York City. Sharpton founded NAN in 1991; the convention hosted various politicians, organizers and religious leaders to talk about the nation's most pressing issues. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
SELMA, AL - MARCH 07: Al Sharpton attends 50th Anniversary Of Selma March For African American Voting Rights on March 7, 2015 in Selma, Alabama. (Photo by Nicole Craine/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 30: At NBC headquarters, Reverend Al Sharpton records his daily TV show called Politics Nation on Friday, January 30, 2015, in New York, NY. Sharpton has become a fixture of the American news cycle. He has a national radio show, a nightly TV show, a nonprofit social justice organization with active chapters in 38 states and a dozen visits each year to the White House. (Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, UNITED STATES - AUGUST 24: Michael Brown Sr. (L2), father of slain teenager Michael Brown Jr., and Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton (R2) speak to the crowd during Peacefest, hosted by Better Family Life and the Trayvon Martin Foundation in St. Louis, Missouri on August 24, 2014. The festival is held in support for the family of Michael Brown, the 18 year-old unarmed teenager shot by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson on August 9th. (Photo by Basri Sahin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, UNITED STATES - AUGUST 24: Michael Brown Sr. (L), father of slain teenager Michael Brown Jr., and Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton (R) speak to the crowd during Peacefest, hosted by Better Family Life and the Trayvon Martin Foundation in St. Louis, Missouri on August 24, 2014. The festival is held in support for the family of Michael Brown, the 18 year-old unarmed teenager shot by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson on August 9th. (Photo by Basri Sahin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, UNITED STATES - AUGUST 24: Michael Brown Sr. (centerL), father of slain teenager Michael Brown Jr., and Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton (centerR) speak to the crowd during Peacefest, hosted by Better Family Life and the Trayvon Martin Foundation in St. Louis, Missouri on August 24, 2014. The festival is held in support for the family of Michael Brown, the 18 year-old unarmed teenager shot by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson on August 9th. (Photo by Basri Sahin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, UNITED STATES - AUGUST 24: Michael Brown Sr. (L3), father of slain teenager Michael Brown Jr. and Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton (C) speak to the crowd during Peacefest, hosted by Better Family Life and the Trayvon Martin Foundation in St. Louis, Missouri on August 24, 2014. The festival is held in support for the family of Michael Brown, the 18 year-old unarmed teenager shot by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson on August 9th. (Photo by Basri Sahin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, UNITED STATES - AUGUST 24: Michael Brown Sr. (R2), father of slain teenager Michael Brown Jr., and Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton (R) speak to the crowd during Peacefest, hosted by Better Family Life and the Trayvon Martin Foundation in St. Louis, Missouri on August 24, 2014. The festival is held in support for the family of Michael Brown, the 18 year-old unarmed teenager shot by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson on August 9th. (Photo by Basri Sahin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, UNITED STATES - AUGUST 24: Michael Brown Sr. (R2), father of slain teenager Michael Brown Jr., and Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton (R) speak to the crowd during Peacefest, hosted by Better Family Life and the Trayvon Martin Foundation in St. Louis, Missouri on August 24, 2014. The festival is held in support for the family of Michael Brown, the 18 year-old unarmed teenager shot by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson on August 9th. (Photo by Basri Sahin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
The Reverend Al Sharpton (C), speaks to the crowd during a Peacefest, a festival hosted by Better Family Life and the Trayvon Martin Foundation, in St. Louis, Missouri on August 24, 2014 in support for the family of Michael Brown, the 18 year-old teenager shot by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson on August 9th. AFP PHOTO / Michael B. THOMAS (Photo credit should read Michael B. Thomas/AFP/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 24: In unison, a concert crowd raises their hands as they chant 'Hands down, don't shoot' as Lesley McSpadden, accompanied by family, her attorney Benjamin Crump, and the Reverend Al Sharpton, appears before a concert crowd in honor of her son at PeaceFest 2014 at Forest Park on Sunday, August 24, 2014, in St. Louis, MO. Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African American male, was fatally gunned down by a White police officer, Darren Wilson, on August 9. (Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 24: Lesley McSpadden, accompanied by family, her attorney Benjamin Crump, and the Reverend Al Sharpton, sheds a tear as she raises her hands as the crowd yells 'hands up, don't shoot' as she appears before a concert crowd in honor of her son at PeaceFest 2014 at Forest Park on Sunday, August 24, 2014, in St. Louis, MO. Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African American male, was fatally gunned down by a White police officer, Darren Wilson, on August 9. (Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 24: Michael Brown Sr. (L) and Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton speak at Peace Fest music festival in Forest Park on August 24, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. Brown is the father of Michael Brown who was shot and killed by a police officer in nearby Ferguson, Missouri on August 9. Michael will be buried tomorrow. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 24: Michael Brown Sr. (L) and Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton (2nd from left) hold up their hands as attorny Benjamin Crump (R) speaks at Peace Fest music festival in Forest Park on August 24, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. Brown is the father of Michael Brown who was shot and killed by a police officer in nearby Ferguson, Missouri on August 9. Michael will be buried tomorrow. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 24: Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton attends Peace Fest music festival in Forest Park on August 24, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. Sharpton will deliver the eulogy tomorrow at the funeral of Michael Brown who was shot and killed by a police officer in nearby Ferguson, Missouri on August 9. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 08: President and founder of the National Action Network Reverend Al Sharpton speaks on day 1 of the National Action Network 2015 Convention at Sheraton New York Times Square on April 8, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by J. Countess/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 21: Rev. Al Sharpton speaks during a press conference denouncing the shooting deaths of two New York Police Department (NYPD) officers at the National Action Network on December 21, 2014 in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. The press conference follows the execution style shooting of officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos in Brooklyn on December 20, 2014 where the suspect was apparently motivated by the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. (Photo by Michael Graae/Getty Images)
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Scott, 50, was fatally shot after fleeing a traffic stop on April 4. Former officer Michael Slager initially said Scott was shot after a tussle over his Taser, but witness video later surfaced showing Scott being shot as he ran away. Slager was fired and has been charged with murder.

Scott's death was criticized as another police shooting of an unarmed black man by a white officer under questionable circumstances. In Sharpton's commendation of the city's response, he said the mayor and police chief's swift action could set the tone for handling future questions of police misconduct across the country.

Despite the city's response and Sharpton's praise, there's still a lingering sense of skepticism about whether Scott's death would have been thoroughly investigated without the witness video.

"The mayor and the chief, they did what they had to do because none of us are blind," Keith White, 60, of North Charleston, said before the church service. "Everyone saw the video and they did what they were forced to do once that video became public."

Despite the events leading up to Scott's death, the response by city officials and the local community hasn't been similar to that of Ferguson, Missouri, where protests after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown and a grand jury's decision not to indict the officer who shot him turned violent and exposed striking social rifts between black and white residents in the area.

Some North Charleston residents have said they suspect abuse of power and public trust among law enforcement as issues that may have played a more pivotal role than race in Scott's death.

"It's not about the color of your skin, it's about social justice. When we all practice social justice we're all free," said Mattese Lecque, a North Charleston resident who heard Sharpton preach Sunday. "Sometimes it takes disaster to bring about change, and that's what's happening now."

Before concluding his sermon, Sharpton mentioned that South Carolina is an important state in the upcoming presidential race. He charged the congregation with pressing candidates about their stances on community policing.

"Don't let anybody run for president and come through South Carolina without addressing what they would do as president of the United States about police accountability," Sharpton said.

"Don't let them come through here and eat some sweet potato pie and sing with the choir and then get your vote on the cheap. Make them stand up and discuss your issues."

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