Target: Chief Rodney Monroe of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Fox8 News of North Carolina
Goal: Demand accountability for the killing of Michael Laney by police
On the evening of July 2nd, 2012, a 28 year old black man named Michael Laney was shot in the head by officer Anthony Holzhauer outside of his home in Charlotte, North Carolina. Accounts of the story as given by police and reported in media vary widely from those reported by Laney’s family and neighbors. According to police chief Rodney Monroe, Laney had his hands in front of him and was reaching for a gun when he was shot; however, several eye-witness accounts place Laney as pinned to the ground with both hands behind his back, possibly handcuffed, at the time of the shooting. There is no proof that Laney was armed: the officers who were present have only stated that they thought he was reaching for a gun, and even that has been disputed by Laney’s family and neighbors.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg police department were apparently chasing Laney for being a suspect in a recent case of armed robbery. However, the only marker associating Laney with this robbery was his possession of a red moped matching that used in the robbery. Many of those living in Laney’s neighborhood have reported this to be an extremely common vehicle in the area.
Although officer Holzhauer has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, Chief Rodney Monroe has not owned up to the use of excessive force involved in the shooting. Additionally, almost all media coverage of the event has not mentioned the possibility of race being a motivating factor in the killing. Sign to demand that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police department and local media outlets develop and report a more realistic and thorough account of Michael Laney’s killing.
Dear Police Chief Rodney Monroe and Fox8 News,
The killing of Michael Laney on the evening of Monday, July 2nd constitutes a use of excessive force and was very likely a racially biased matter. Accounts of the shooting given by police and accounts given by Laney’s neighbors and family fail to match up so severely that a thorough investigation, taking into account the possibility of race-based motives, is crucial in proceeding forward. There is no proof that Laney carried a gun, nor that he had any intention of using it against officers Holzhauer and Shields. Nor does Laney’s possession of a red moped conclusively insinuate him as a suspect in the armed robbery he has been accused of association with.
The simplistic view of this case taken by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police department and local news outlets including Fox8 does not match up with the facts as they were given by those on the scene. Michael Laney and his family deserve a truer and more thorough account of his death. Use of excessive force by police against young black men is nothing new, but it is an outrage and deserves to be treated as such.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Brian Lambeth via booneonline.com