On Tuesday in North Carolina, African-American Keith Scott was recorded in the parking lot of his apartment complex being shot and killed by a black Charlotte policeman.
The officer, Brentley Vinson, reasons that Scott was supposedly armed and not adhering to his instructions and therefore posed as a threat to his surroundings. On the other hand, Scott’s family argues that he didn’t own or habitually carry a gun and the police recording clearly shows him slowly walking backwards toward the officer with his hands at his side.
His family explained that he was only readin
g a book, as he so often did, while waiting for his son to come home from school. However, authorities claim that no book was found at the crime scene, but a gun was. In a video recorded and released by Scott’s wife, policemen can be heard telling him repeatedly to “drop the gun,” while his wife consistently assured them that he had no gun.
The continuation of police implementing violence in what appears to be an unjust way understandably hit a nerve of many individuals in the state. Aside from the peaceful demonstrations that took action through chants and non-violent gesticulations, the preeminence of wildly aggressive reactions such as looting, damaging property, and setting things aflame, summoned the state governor to deploy National Guard troops to help maintain order in the city. The chaos also prompted the mayor of Charlotte to impose a six-hour curfew during the declared state of emergency, which was then lifted on Sunday after boisterous demonstrations began to simmer down. As opposed to the concerningly violent protests that took place on the first two nights following Scott’s death, the demonstrations that occurred on subsequent nights were for the most part peaceful.
While many details of the case are still being discussed in the attempt to conclude the actual events, demonstrators will continue to ponder why gun violence is seemingly too often an officer’s first resort in a situation.