All Day, Black Lives Matter, Cam Newton, Charlotte, Keith Lamont Scott, North Carolina, Police Shootings, Social Activism, Terence Crutcher -

Charlotte erupts after police-related shooting Protestors take to streets after Keith Lamont Scott was killed

All Day, Black Lives Matter, Cam Newton, Charlotte, Keith Lamont Scott, North Carolina, Police Shootings, Social Activism, Terence Crutcher -

Charlotte erupts after police-related shooting Protestors take to streets after Keith Lamont Scott was killed

On the evening news, none of the TV stations in Charlotte, North Carolina, cut into coverage. By the 11 p.m. shows, it was all they reported on. On Tuesday afternoon, Keith Lamont Scott was shot and killed by Charlotte police while they were searching for a different person, who was wanted on outstanding warrants. The news spread across Facebook after Scott’s daughter went live to tell the world exactly what she thinks about the law enforcement in her town. Warning: explicit language.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFO7kVjtipo

That’s two black men in two days, shot and killed by police officers over matters that were unrelated to them. The first was Terrence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His name had barely become a trending topic as a hashtag before another one was killed. Scott was 43 years old.

By nightfall, crowds had gathered near where the shooting occurred. They took over the roads and took their protest to Interstate 85. The police broke out the tear gas, then the demonstrators shut down the highway. What’s so depressing about all this is that we now have a basic narrative for everything that happens in these situations. Person gets shot. Mass of people show up in anger. Police attempt to disperse legal gathering. A handful of officers are hurt in the exchange. Twitter takes notice. Law enforcement starts in with smear campaign of victim. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Scott apparently had a gun, which apparently means he’s a threat. It should be noted that North Carolina is an open-carry state. A permit is NOT required to carry a gun openly in the state. Meaning, outside of profiling and assumptions, this person was doing nothing wrong. It was first rumored that Scott was sitting in his car reading a book when the shooting occurred. According to police, getting in and out of his car with a gun in a neighborhood where there *might* be a criminal was a good enough reason to shoot him. It’s unclear if he pointed the gun or not.

To be clear, here’s why that line of reasoning works with a certain element of the public. Let’s just start with the assertion that black people are dangerous. You have to start there, otherwise, nothing makes sense. Then, we move to the concept of a black person carrying a gun. This is where the extrajudicial and judicial meet. Again, it is perfectly legal to carry a gun openly in North Carolina. But, once this black person, with a gun, is not immediately obedient to an officer’s demands, many folks who consider themselves reasonable people think that’s a decent justification for lethal force. Meanwhile, a guy sets off a bomb in the middle of New York City and manages to not get shot to death by the authorities.

The flurry of recent high-profile shooting prompted United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch to address the matter. “These tragic incidents have once again left Americans with feelings of sorrow, anger and uncertainty,” Lynch said at the annual conference for the International Bar Association. “They have once again highlighted — in the most vivid and painful terms — the real divisions that still persist in this nation between law enforcement and communities of color. And in Charlotte, they have once again led to widespread protest. Unfortunately, we saw several instances of violence during the protests, and 12 police officers and a number of demonstrators were injured as a result. Protest is protected by our Constitution and is a vital instrument for raising issues and creating change. But when it turns violent, it undermines the very justice that it seeks to achieve and I urge those demonstrating in Charlotte to remain peaceful in their expressions of protest and concern.”

In her wide-ranging remarks, she added that the Department of Justice is trying to work in everyone’s best interest. “At the Department of Justice, we are working tirelessly to build trust between law enforcement officers and the communities we serve and we will continue to do so. We will continue to forge dialogue between citizens and police officers. We will continue to do everything we can to give the brave men and women who wear the badge the tools and training they need to do their jobs safely, effectively and fairly. And we will continue to protect the rights and liberties of every American – no matter who they are, what they look like, or what uniform they wear,” she said.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton plays in Charlotte. Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry reps Charlotte. Residents will tell you that Charlotte is vulnerable and not a city particularly ready for this discussion or fight, if it comes to it. The Panthers play the Minnesota Vikings at 1 p.m. in Bank of America Stadium on Sunday. That national anthem ceremony will be a heavily scrutinized one.


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