While Charlotte leaders appealed for calm Wednesday, patience was running out for some African-American leaders and activists.
“I’m just as upset as some of the protesters are,” said Rev. Dwayne Walker, pastor of Little Rock AME Zion church. “We’re tired of double standards. We’re tired of it being open season on black men and black women in this country. We’re just tired of it.”
Police and city officials asked for calm after a night of violent protests following the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer. Sixteen officers were injured in the protests that followed.
City officials asked for patience while they analyze the information surrounding the shooting.
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“Right now there’s a lot of anger,” said Willie Ratchford, executive director of the city’s community relations committee. “People have a right to be angry. But some of that anger is driven by misinformation.”
Patrice Funderburg is the organizer of Educate To Engage, a group formed to address issues such as the mass incarceration of African-Americans. She heard Chief Kerr Putney’s appeal for calm.
“It was very much, ‘We’re going to do this the Charlotte Way,’ ” she said. “The people who are oppressed, they don’t want to hear all that. … This is how they get voices heard – they shut down I-85 at 2 in the morning.”
Her group plans to meet Thursday night to map out its own response to the shooting.
Ken Spaulding, a Durham lawyer and former candidate for governor, said, “The problem is there’s too many discussions about discussions.”
He said people still remember the 2013 shooting death of Jonathan Ferrell by a white Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer, Randall Kerrick. He was charged with voluntary manslaughter but freed when a judge declared a mistrial in August 2015. Spaulding pushed unsuccessfully for a retrial.
“(That) left a very bad taste in the mouths of many African-Americans,” he said.
Walker, the Little Rock pastor, said there are too many questions surrounding the death of Scott. And it doesn’t matter, he said, that Chief Putney is African-American.
“At this point it’s not black and white, it’s blue,” he said. “It seems there’s a (police) culture that’s understood, ‘This is what we do.’ ”
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