Target: Mayor Jennifer Roberts, Charlotte, NC
Goal: Ensure officers who shot Keith Lamont Scott take responsibility and are appropriately punished for their actions.
A police officer shot and killed a black man at an apartment complex where the officers had arrived in order to serve a warrant for somebody else. The police department confirmed that the man killed, Keith Lamont Scott, was not the man authorities were looking for. Police said that he was holding a gun, which was found at the scene, but his family said that he was holding a book and was reading in his car when the officers arrived at the scene. Scott was a father of seven.
The Chief of Police said that at least one officer shot Scott. The officer in question, Brentley Vinson, is also black, and has been put on paid administrative leave. Investigations into the shooting and the involvement of other officers at the scene are underway.
According to the police statement, the officers were looking for the individual for whom they had an unspecified warrant to serve when they saw a man get out of his car with a gun and then get back into the vehicle. The officers moved in on the car, after which, they said, the subject reemerged with the firearm and therefore posed a deadly threat to the officers.
Especially when it comes to black men in this country, police seem to have an approach of “shoot first, ask questions later,” even when the person is not a suspect in any crime. However, police did manage to bring Ahmad Rahami–the man suspected of planting explosives in New York and New Jersey–in alive even after a shoot out because they wanted to question him.
Clearly it is possible to overcome even an armed individual who is known to be dangerous without killing him. There can be no excuse for the murders of black men by police. Sign below and demand accountability for the wrongful death of Keith Lamont Scott.
Dear Mayor Roberts,
The tragic killing of Keith Lamont Scott by police officers in Charlotte cannot be allowed to stand. Officers were at the apartment complex in order to serve a warrant for a different man when they shot and killed Scott. Scott had a wife and seven children, and he and his family need justice.
Police say that Scott had a gun and posed a threat to their lives. His family say that he was holding a book and had been reading in his car when authorities first arrived on the scene. Even amidst this confusion, though, it is clear that authorities are not placing due value on black lives. There is a “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality that has resulted in far too many avoidable, unnecessary, and unjust deaths of innocent black men.
The man suspected of planting bombs in New York and New Jersey, who engaged in a shootout with police, was taken in alive for questioning. Clearly it is possible to subdue someone without killing them, even when they are armed and known to be dangerous.
Please do not allow this double standard to continue. Take a stand for black lives and make it clear that these killings are unacceptable. I urge you to ensure that Scott and his family get the justice they deserve and that the officers responsible are punished for their actions.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Otto Yamamoto