Death in Charlotte

Yesterday, a disabled man who was waiting in his car for his son to get off the school bus was shot to death by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police. The police were seeking someone else, not Kenneth L. Scott, whose family said he had a book. Police officials said Scott had a gun and "posed an imminent deadly threat" and were received with disbelief.

I am skeptical that a black man waiting for his son at a school bus stop in Charlotte would respond to a police challenge by emerging from his car with a handgun. Legal protest is appropriate. Yet there is no justice in taking goods from stranded tractor trailer trucks to build a fire on Interstate 85. No justification in this for looting. Nor for blocking the highway.

We don't even have the facts so that we can make rational decisions.
Somewhat like black lives, the facts matter and we do not have them. We may never have the facts. Even if the police had been required to wear and were wearing fully functional body cameras, they could under state law choose to conceal the footage. In July #NCGov Pat McCrory signed without comment a law granting law enforcement destructively broad discretion.

As Susann Birdsong of the American Civil Liberties Union put it:

Giving law enforcement such broad authority to keep video footage secret – even from individuals who are filmed – will damage law enforcement’s ability to build trust with the public and destroy any potential this technology had to make officers more accountable to the communities they serve.

The anger in Charlotte is about distrust. McCrory's decision to sign further concealment into law, like the GOP-dominated General Assembly's passage of that law, exacerbated the distrust. The law should be changed to correct their mistake.

We need the facts so that we can make rational decisions.

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Comments

I understand the outrage

There may be no justification for looting in terms of the law, but the moral outrage at these senseless killings is hard to bottle up. People are pissed and rightly so. And in the meantime, the resurgence of the KKK, the mainstreaming of the KKK, is hard to square with a "be patient" mindset.

That said, you are right to link this to McCrory's cowardice and penchant for secrecy.

Riots happen ...

... when people feel they're backed into a corner and have nothing else they can do to vent their rage and anger.

With the announcement this morning that the police weren't using bodycams, turning it into a situation where there's just the physical evidence and the word of the police to rely on here, I've a feeling that the unrest may not be over.

Searching for a suspect

When the description is "black male, x feet tall, mid-thirties" puts thousands of citizens in the crosshairs. Also, they may as well stop carrying tasers, if they're just going to shoot them after stunning them. Ugh.

Some perspective from Greg LaCour

This storm has been brewing for a long time:

It was clear in the aftermath that this had been a long time coming. Charlotte has polished uptown, built light rail, thrown up a few thousand new apartment complexes and mixed-use developments for affluent newcomers—and encouraged, or at least acceded to, an economy in which it’s harder than in any other large American city to rise from poverty, and a public school system that in all the ways that matter has resegregated itself back to the 1960s. Does anyone really need to spell out what we all know, that the majority of people who have thrived in Boomtown Charlotte are moneyed and white, and the majority who have suffered in the other Charlotte are poor and black? “The whole damn system is guilty as hell,” a portion of the crowd of 300 or so, nearly all black, chanted in the dark on Old Concord Road on Tuesday night, and they weren’t wrong.

No, they weren't wrong. The amount of money that circulates through Charlotte is literally incalculable. But it's definitely more than enough for people to get (or stay) rich *and* for numerous, effective anti-poverty programs to help those on the lower spectrum.

ACLU NC calls for the release of any video

There may be footage and I agree with the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina that it should be released, immediately:

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina today called on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department to release any body or dash cam footage that captured yesterday’s police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, the 194th Black person killed by U.S. police this year. Police say Mr. Scott was shot and killed while officers were trying to execute an arrest warrant for a different person.

A new North Carolina law, HB 972, will prevent law enforcement agencies from releasing body camera footage in the public interest without a court order, but the law does not take effect until October 1. All Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers are supposed to be equipped with body cameras while on patrol and the cameras should be in use any time an arrest is made, according to department policy.

Karen Anderson, Executive Director of the ACLU of North Carolina, released the following statement:

“We join the people in Charlotte and across the nation in sending our deepest condolences to Mr. Scott’s family. We demand a full investigation into why yet another Black person in the United States has died at the hands of a police officer. The public and Mr. Scott’s family deserve answers, and we urge the State Bureau of Investigation and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation.

“In the interest of transparency and accountability, and particularly in light of conflicting accounts about the shooting, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department should quickly release any and all footage it has of the events leading up to the shooting, as well as the shooting itself. The department should also explain why the officer who shot Mr. Scott was not wearing a body camera.

“HB972, the disgraceful law passed by the North Carolina General Assembly and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory that prevents law enforcement agencies from releasing body camera footage without a court order, does not take effect until October 1. As we seen elsewhere, video footage of police shootings can provide crucial evidence of what took place – especially when there are conflicting accounts from police and community members. Charlotte should set an example for North Carolina by releasing footage of the shooting promptly before the obstacles imposed by the new state law take effect.

“What we already know is that far too many people of color are victims of wrongful targeting and excessive use of force by law enforcement officers across the country, and last night we were once again harshly reminded that North Carolina is not immune to that reality."

Instapundit is a jackass

And he was outraged by the unfairness:

Glenn Reynolds, a USA Today columnist, law professor and extremely active Twitter user, was suspended on Twitter for much of Thursday morning following a controversial tweet that appeared to suggest drivers should hit protesters blocking highway traffic in North Carolina.

On Thursday morning, Reynolds and his followers were surprised and outraged to find his account suspended by Twitter. By late morning, however, Reynolds account was reinstated “on condition of deleting the offending tweet,” he wrote in a tweet.

Some of Reynolds defenders criticized Twitter for censorship and inconsistent crackdowns with the hashtag #FreeInstapundit.

“They have tolerated much more objectionable comments from people on the left,” Reynolds said in an e-mail to CNNMoney shortly before his account was reactivated. “At present, I don’t plan to return to Twitter.”

And that, my friends, is what's known as a "flounce." Or as we used to say on a writer's message board, "goodbye cruel world" (GCW). And of course it is most often applied by people who are patently offensive, yet get their feelings hurt when somebody calls them on it.

"Flounce" is new to me

I shall add the term "flounce," as you used it, to my vocabulary of descriptions. It will, I think, help preserve me from descent into crude epithets.

In Victorian times,

women were able to master the flounce by rustling their skirt as they stalked out of the room, as if they wanted to make sure their garment wasn't contaminated by the peasantry. It was a little more difficult for men; they were forced to "snatch up" their hat, coat, and walking stick, and give the room one long, hard glare before exiting to the street without donning hat and coat. Plainly uncivilized, such behavior sent a clear message of their disdain.