For the second time in six months, controversial civil rights leader the Rev. Al Sharpton is coming to Charlotte – this time to draw attention to the killing of a suspect shot twice in the back by a police officer.
The 53-year-old minister and former presidential candidate will be here Friday and plans to hold a 6:30 p.m. town hall meeting at New Life Fellowship Center on Samuel Street and an 11:30 a.m. news conference outside the government center.
Sharpton will also meet privately with city officials and with Aaron Winchester's family.
The May 20 shooting happened after Officer David Jester questioned Winchester about a domestic dispute and an ensuing car crash.
Winchester ran, and police say he removed a silver handgun from his back right pocket and “started to turn toward the officer with the gun in his hand.” But five witnesses interviewed by the Observer say they didn't see Winchester reaching for a gun, holding a gun, or turning toward the officer, even slightly.
The Mecklenburg district attorney has requested an independent investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation, and police are conducting their own investigations. Jester was placed on administrative leave after the shooting, but is back on the job doing desk work.
Sharpton's National Action Network and lawyers for Winchester's family have also spoken with witnesses. And the state branch of the NAACP has called for CMPD to bring in an outside agency to investigate whenever an officer shoots someone.
Sharpton was last in Charlotte on Jan. 31, at Greater Mount Sinai Baptist Church, where he chastised county commissioners for ignoring the will of voters in the recent Democratic Party election that Nick Mackey won. That election was later overturned by the N.C. Democratic Party.