For my white friends outraged or embarrassed by the riots in Charlotte: Do something…

Martin Luther King Jr. Public Domain.

In times like this it becomes clear who is “more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity.” Regardless of the facts in this particular case, it is time for white Americans to recognize that we have a serious problem that requires empathy, knowledge, and constructive actions — not implicit bias and selective outrage. More transparency would be a good place to start: North Carolina should repeal HB 972.

Your outrage, just like the violent “language of the unheard,” is not helpful. Contact your state and federal legislators. Vote. Get more engaged in your local community. Do something

“I will continue to condemn riots, and continue to say to my brothers and sisters that this is not the way. And continue to affirm that there is another way. But at the same time, it is necessary for me to be vigorous in condemning the conditions which cause persons to feel that they must engage in riotous activities as it is for me to condemn riots. I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the [African American] poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity. And so in a real sense our nation’s summers of riots are caused by our nation’s winters of delay. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

More information:

  • Jay Stanley (ACLU): Charlotte Shooting Shows Why Video Transparency Is Vital.
  • WFAE: “Scott Family Sees Videos, Wants Them Made Public.”
  • NY Times: “Release the Charlotte Police Video.”
  • Vox. “The outrageous North Carolina law that could stop the public from seeing police shooting videos.”

Action Alert: ACLU: Ask Charlotte to release footage of Keith Lamont Scott’s killing.


  • NBC: “Footage taken by Keith Scott’s wife shows the moments leading up to the fatal police shooting of her husband” (September 23).
  • Charlotte Observer: “New, second video emerges, showing different angle on officers around body of Scott” (September 23).
  • WBTV: “SBI: CMPD has legal authority to release police shooting video” (September 23).
  • Charlotte Observer: “Charlotte leaders’ awful blunder on Keith Scott videos” (September 23).
  • CNN: “Charlotte shooting: City considers releasing police videos Saturday” (September 24).

Addendum and Notes:

From the beginning, “Police [have] said a [black] officer shot Scott after he failed to heed commands to drop a gun. His family has said he didn’t have a gun” (CNN). However, police have since refused to release their (self-described “ambiguous”) video footage because their investigation is still ongoing and they want to wait and release all the information at once (so we have all the context).

Yet they continue to release other information piecemeal that supports their narrative: “The gun police say they recovered from the scene was loaded, a source close to the investigation told CNN. The source said investigators recovered from the weapon fingerprints, blood and DNA that matched with Scott. The source said the blood most likely got on the gun after the shooting” (CNN).

Meanwhile, a police union official has admitted to engaging in some (inaccurate) “speculation” about the protestors on CNN. As of 6:30 PM on September 24, NC House Speaker Tim Moore is still repeating this counter-factual claim (in a live interview on CNN - and they didn’t call him on it)…and we finally have some transparency from CMPD...

Note: CMPD’s body cam footage is lacking audio until after the shooting, suggesting that the officer wearing the body cam didn’t activate the camera until after the shooting.

Originally published at on September 21, 2016.

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