the protests ought continue until black li(v)es matter

On Tuesday afternoon, September 20, 2016, Keith Lamont Scott, a 43-year old African American, was shot and killed by Officer Brentley Vinson, also an African American, of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC) Police Department.

This is irrefutable. All else concerning this tragic encounter is in dispute.

The police claim that Mr. Scott wielded a gun and refused several commands to drop the weapon. Considered an “imminent deadly threat,” Mr. Scott was shot. The police maintain that the weapon in Mr. Scott’s possession was recovered at the scene.

Mr. Scott’s family counters that he was holding a book and posed no danger to anyone.

The authorities are in possession of video footage recorded on police body and dashboard cameras. To date, it remains kept from public view, both Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney citing the necessity of maintaining the integrity of the police investigation.

Yesterday, Mr. Scott’s wife, Rakeiya Scott, released a video of the incident taken on her cell phone. Watching the video, I heard her ardent appeals to the police not to shoot her husband, telling them that he had a traumatic brain injury and had taken his medicine, her pleading with Mr. Scott “not to do it” (what “it” was being unclear), the sound of gunfire, and Mr. Scott’s fallen body surrounded by police officers.

The killing of Mr. Scott has provoked several days of protests. Charlotte Uprising, “a (community) coalition…committed to ensuring the safety of their communities…police accountability, transparency and social and economic equity,” has developed a list of ten petitions under the heading We Demand. Number 5 reads in part: “A release of the police report and body camera footage connected with the killing of Keith L. Scott…”[1]

I think the authorities ought[2] to release the police video for public viewing because I believe what’s at stake is more important than police investigative procedures. The issue is one of public trust that black lives matter enough to be protected; the reinforcement, the refurbishment of which cannot begin, much less be achieved without fullest transparency. If and until that happens, I believe the protests, peaceful and involving no harm to human life or property damage, ought continue…

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On a related note, the Republican Party presidential candidate, Donald Trump, at an evening campaign rally, coincidentally in North Carolina and on Tuesday, September 20, declared that black communities in America are “absolutely in the worst shape that they’ve ever been in before. Ever. Ever. Ever…You take a look at the inner cities, you get no education, you get no jobs, you get shot walking down the street. They’re worse – I mean, honestly, places like Afghanistan are safer than some of our inner cities.”

This statement is a part of Mr. Trump’s presumed appeal to African American voters, “What have you got to lose (in voting for me)”; though oddly, I think, in this recent instance and at other times previously, proclaimed before largely white audiences.

Yes, I believe African Americans, relative to white Americans, continue to experience, to suffer disparities of opportunity and fulfillment in the vital fields of economics, education, health, and social justice.[3] Yet these substantial difficulties cannot compare to the horrors of institutional slavery and the era of Jim Crow law.

Mr. Trump has proven himself to me to have a feeble grasp of history and a more fragile hold on truth. His statement, woefully lacking in accuracy and in reality is a lie about black people and, thus, a black lie.

The protests – by all people who treasure truth – ought continue until black lies matter enough to be rejected.

 

Footnotes:

[1] See http://www.charlotteuprising.com/charlotte-uprising-information.html

[2] For me, ought, along with must and should, is always a heavily morally-weighted-and-freighted-word, inferring to do otherwise is immoral. Because this triumvirate of terms bears an unmistakable force of judgment, I use them infrequently and carefully.

[3] See The National Urban League’s Locked Out – Education, Jobs, Justice: A Message to the Next President (www.stateofblackamerca.org)

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3 thoughts on “the protests ought continue until black li(v)es matter

  1. Paul,

    I didn’t have a chance to read this yesterday. Once again, thank you for staying on the forefront of this critically important issue. Since you published this, the video has been released after much pressure. Unfortunately though, it doesn’t provide clear enough answers. You can see Mr. Scott’s right hand in part of the video, but you can’t see whether anything is in it. To me, hearing his wife’s pleas about her husband’s brain injury. why was he not tased instead. It’s amazing to me how many non-African Americans who point guns at police officers are tased or shot but not killed… not shot multiple times, many times in the back with little to no consequences.

    It was good to see diversity in the crowd of protestors, and I agree wholeheartedly with you that the protests should continue until Black Lives Matter. It’s what Martin Luther King, Jr would have done.

    I too read Trump’s comments about how much worse off were than at any other time in history. The more he talks, the more I can’t listen…. We need extraordinary change in this country, but it certainly won’t be brought about by him.

    Sending you blessings and much love on this Sunday morning, I look forward to your sermon later today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And I look forward to your blog (several blogs?) about your rich experience in St. Croix. Speak well today. May the Spirit give wings to your words!

      Yes, I agree that America can continue to change for the better in many ways and that Trump is not the answer, though with his oft repeated “I alone can fix it”, surely he would disagree.

      I also watched the 2 videos, several times. I could see nothing definitive, frankly that backs the stories/narratives either of the police or the family. I agree with you that black folk with or without guns appear to fare worse in confrontations with police than white folk. I fear that unless and until we, as a nation – government, individuals, police departments, educators, all of us – focus on the power of race (not biologically for we’re all alike, but sociologically, for that is where, I believe, the differences are historically) as determinative in how we see (and fear) and respond one to another, this sorrowful trend will continue.

      Lord, have mercy.

      Like

      • Thanks Paul!! I’m so excited about my last presentation and the last session (an open religious forum of sharing) then it’s off to my balcony to lay out!!

        We’ve got to find a way to stem this tide. I know that blogs like yours help so much! Keep writing!!

        Liked by 1 person

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