Keith Lamont Scott was murdered by police in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Terence Crutcher was murdered only days before Scott by an officer in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Crutcher was unarmed and Scott is believed to have been unarmed by his family, supporters and activists nationwide. Neither Scott nor Crutcher posed a deadly threat to the officers that shot and killed them.
Crutcher’s killer was indicted on charges of manslaughter. For Scott, there’s pushback surfacing from the Police Department alleging Scott was armed, had a “marijuana cigarette” and pointed a gun at the officers. Scott’s widow said he was sitting in his car reading a book while waiting on his son to get off the school bus.
Parked in an unmarked car, officers were waiting to serve another person a warrant. The officers forced Scott out of his vehicle while they were out of uniform with guns drawn. As the victim backed up away from the officers that had guns pointed at him, he was shot four times.
Riots and protests ignited in Charlotte and in Atlanta. In solidarity, Oregon supporters joined the movement. But, what happens now is barely a headline in mainstream press. A North Carolina law goes into effect on October 1st that allows law enforcement officers to not have to release body or dash cam videos to the public and press unless a judge rules otherwise.
I’ve tossed and turned watching video after video of the shootings wondering what in the world could have triggered a deadly response from those officers. As I so often do, I jumped up in the middle of the night and wrote down six things I think we can do as a unit to help move keep our brothers and sisters safe from the very people we trust to protect us.
We must make a pledge to stop taking the “black candidate” bait. It doesn’t matter if the President, Chief of Police, State Attorney or Officer is black. If we are still being murdered by law enforcement, what difference does it make? If our needs are not met, what have we achieved? We need to make a promise to each other that we will elect people, not just because of their race, but because of what they’ve stood for and what they’ve done for our people. Many white people have also stood behind us in this struggle. It is unfair to not realize their dedication to our lives and the lives of our brethren. I don’t care if you’re black or if you’re female, if you haven’t fought against injustice, you have not earned my vote. I screamed this from the top of my lungs during past elections and people stared at me as if I had just turned purple before their eyes. We gift wrap our votes to politicians because they smile, have hot sauce in their purse or kiss our babies. Miss me with all of that. I’d rather you show me what you’ve done. To sum it up, I am nobody’s firewall unless you are proven to have been mine.
We must force resignations of crooked leaders but don’t stop there. If they are not serving us they way they should, they have to step down. I believe the Charlotte Chief of Police should resign now. There’s way too much in the videos that have been released, showing they’ve not only lied but appear to have placed a weapon at the scene of the shooting of Scott. When there is civil unrest that has, in turn, lead to the death of yet another young black protestor named Justin Carr, law enforcement has failed us yet again. They are not even keeping the protestors safe. The day Carr was killed, law enforcement protecting protestors was at a minimum. Let me be clear, a resignation doesn’t fix the situation. Properly vetting and being active in the selection of the person who takes that vacant office and changing the law will significantly help. The Governor signed legislation stopping police videos from being shown in the public. This further ignites the narrative that we are being sold a lie. If we continue to allow politicians to pull wool over our eyes with these kind of laws, then we’ve bought into the madness with the blood of black men like Scott and Crutcher. Let’s not stop there. With a fine tooth comb, we must go through all of the legislation that impacts us.
We must demand Full Transparency and then read it. The law is an open book that no one is reading. The facts are an open book that no one is reading. The officers had no qualms about shooting these men in public. They should explain it in public. There’s no reason why the public and the press should not see each and every detail in situations that matter most to us. We live in the age of information. Nothing needs to be added or taken away from the details of any situation. It may inflame the community but it may also even settle the community. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t know the truth behind every story that impacts our people.
Candidly and kindly expose those candidates, elected and appointed officials who have not supported the struggle. Recently, a Central Florida attorney celebrated the victory of her client’s sentencing. Noel Carter received a light sentence in court on Monday. Carter was found guilty of a felony. He could have taken a plea deal, before taxpayers spent money on his trial and ended this the exact same way. But, the attorney and activists at the head of this case wanted national attention and pushed to get just that. When they didn’t, and when they lost the trial, they came back and wanted a deal that was likely put before them the first time. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy he didn’t get time in prison. The case was complicated, but the facts and the law remain clear. We don’t have to be nasty to tell someone they aren’t serving us properly, but we sure had better tell them. If we elect an official or support the appointment of a community leader or hire an attorney, we have the right to praise them when they are good and expose them when they are bad. It’s just that simple. There are no friends in the game when people are being gunned down in cold blood. We must also pressure the Press to use the Freedom of Information Act. Journalists are like little elected officials. They are supposed to serve their readers and increase readership. Tell us what you want to see covered and suggest how and we’ll take it from there. Force us to ask the hardball questions. Today, many cannot speak out on social media for fear their employers may punish them for their views. Let us be your voice. Real journalists are unapologetically and unafraid to do our jobs. We don’t back down and we don’t lose any sleep if people in prominent positions hate us. Our job is journalism. Our brand is truth-telling. I couldn’t care any less who doesn’t like the truth I write. My job is to write it.
Push the Senate NOW to approve the nominee by President Barack Obama to the Supreme Court of the United States. Breaking News…Antonin Scalia is dead. He’s gone, people. That means there’s a seat open on the Supreme Court of the United States of America. Scalia is rejoicing in Heaven, hopefully, while we are here trying to decipher the Constitution and the current Supreme Court is slammed with more cases than they can handle. They not only need another Justice to help with that, we need that Justice to help us. Scalia was a conservative whose views differ vastly from ours. The Supreme Court is where the laws are made about what can be enforced on our streets and in our courtrooms. The law doesn’t start and end with a Judge, attorney or a State Attorney. We keep marching in circles, confused and wondering why people can get a slap on the wrist for murdering our brethren and we are fighting the wrong battles. We are still trying to get people to like or love us and hopefully that will solve our problems on the streets. News alert. That’s not happening. Cut them off at the knees with what America has already put on paper as the law of the land and force them to put a Justice in an open seat that will interpret the law in such a way that we are no longer treated as cattle. This way, when it comes down to our level, we are protected and people who hurt and kill us are punished for their crime.
Stop letting Pastors, community and caucus leaders take you down the wrong path. All of us have elected officials that represent us. There’s no reason why we can’t pick the phone up and call them. We can also be quick to believe the mess that comes out of the mouths of people in the pulpit, that we get caught up trying to decipher scripture from the law. They are two separate things and we shouldn’t be crossing the streams. Let your pastor be your pastor and when they start holding debates and talking about elections, vet them, if you choose to stay and listen. Once they cross that political line, they deserve to be treated and handled like politicos. Let them choose if they want to be a Pastor or a Politician. Most of them have no clue as to what they are talking about. Shut them down, shut them up and ask them to get back to scripture or go study political science before they misuse their voices.