Friday, 02 December 2016

Charlotte Police Head Off Violence in the Face of Protests

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In the wake of the announcement that “Officer Vinson’s use of deadly force was lawful” in the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott, a newe wave of protesters have marched in the streets of Charlotte, North Carolina. And while the protests have been described as “mostly peaceful,” there is cause for concern. These protests and the actions and sentiments of many of those involved are part and parcel of an ongoing attack on the very fabric of American civilization and heritage.

Immediately after Officer Brentley Vinson shot Scott on the afternoon of September 20, rioting and looting (which the mainstream media preferred to call “protests” and “unrest”) broke out all over the Charlotte area. Highways and roads were blocked, buildings were damaged, cars were burned, people (including — and especially — police officers) were attacked, and one person was killed.

With the announcement Wednesday that the shooting was considered lawful and justified, the question left hanging was, “Will the Black Lives Matter (BLM) crowd begin another reign of terror in Charlotte?” The answer — so far — seems to be, “At least not yet.” The Charlotte Observer reported:

Dozens of protesters marched from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police headquarters to the city center Wednesday night after a prosecutor’s announcement that Officer Brentley Vinson would not be charged in Keith Lamont Scott’s death.

Speakers at the protest, organized by the coalition Charlotte Uprising, said they want to see more police transparency in investigations.

The march was generally peaceful, especially compared with the sometimes violent protests in the days after Scott’s death in September. A heavy rain that soaked protesters around 7 p.m. Wednesday may have kept some people from participating.

Since the rain may be at least partially responsible for keeping the numbers to “dozens” instead of the violent “thousands” that took to the streets after the shooting, it is hard to say what the following days may bring. Even with the “generally peaceful” nature of the march from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) headquarters, Wednesday's demonstrations were not without their problems. CMPD tweeted, “Protesters mostly peaceful tonight. Total of 4 arrests at this time. All charged with obstructing traffic, one also with disorderly conduct.” Representatives of CMPD told The New American that even with nice weather Thursday, there were no further protests.

According to a statement provided to The New American by CMPD:

The goal of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department following the decision by District Attorney Andrew Murray that Officer Brentley Vinson’s actions were lawful, was to maintain a safe environment for our community and for those who wished to exercise their right to lawfully demonstrate.

Our strategic operations plan was coordinated through the CMPD command center in conjunction with local partners. The command center was operational from 8:00 a.m. through 11:30 p.m., on November 30, 2016.


The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Civil Emergency Unit was on standby but was never deployed. At the peak of the protest there were approximately 75-100 protesters.

Those arrested were part of what the Charlotte Observer described as “scuffles between police and protesters” that began around 8:30 p.m. as the march proceeded through uptown Charlotte to the Transit Center. Just before 9 p.m., the dozens of protesters returned to CMPD headquarters where some of them attempted to remove the American flag from in front of CMPD headquarters. They were stopped by police officers before the flag was taken down. There were chants that CMPD had “murdered” Scott and that there are “no good cops in a racist system.”

Three things stand out here.

First is the fact that anyone taking an objective look at the evidence would quickly realize that Officer Vinson’s use of deadly force was reasonable given the situation. As Mecklenburg County District Attorney Andrew Murray put it in his statement, “What [Officer Vinson] saw was a man who had drawn a gun and — when confronted by police — exited the vehicle with the gun in hand and failed to comply with officers who commanded him at least ten times to put the gun down.” To consider such a reasonable response to an armed and dangerous suspect to be “murder” requires both a presupposition and a detachment from reality.

The second point is similar to the first in that the claim that there are “no good cops in a racist system” assumes first that the system is racist and second that even black men and women become racists when they put on the blue uniform. This writer addressed the claim that the system is “racist” in a previous article. As that article points out, there are millions of hard-working, educated black people who have prospered and made something of their lives under the American system. Among them are millionaires and businesses owners and doctors and lawyers and congressmen and senators and governors and even a president. A “racist system” does not allow the victims of that racism to succeed to those levels. It certainly does not elect them to high offices.

It is the epitome of racism to brand all people of a certain race as being the same. That principle is wrong whether dealing with races or professions. To assume that a police officer of any color is a racist simply because of the uniform he or she wears requires a special kind of blind ignorance.

The third point is that, acting out their anger against the supposedly “racist system,” the protesters attempted to remove the American flag. While representatives of CMPD told The New American that the attempted flag removal was a non-event (since the protesters who began to remove the flag obeyed officers’ orders not to do so, and no one involved was arrested), the fact remains that these prostesters apparently view the American flag as a "racist" symbol.

This is well in keeping with growing (and, we believe, manufactured) anti-American spirit of the age. If the system itself is racist, then the nation symbolized by the flag is also racist. While it is possible that the protesters did not even think that far ahead (which would, of course, be consistent with bahavior based on emotion), it is reasonable to conclude that the attempted flag removal in Charlotte is an outgrowth of the anti-flag sentiment that is currently so in vogue, and this anti-flag sentiment is itself an outgrowth of the besmirching of our great country, particularly the American system and heritage.

CMPD prides itself on its relationship with the community. That relationship is very positive in most cases, which is why this BLM-manufactured angst is so disturbing to many in the area. Rather than take a heavy-handed approach to the demonstrations, CMPD (as the statement above makes clear) sought ways to “maintain a safe environment for our community and for those who wished to exercise their right to lawfully demonstrate.” That good police work and good community-building effort are examples of the professionalism and commitment of so many police departments and officers around the country who work tirelessly to “protect and serve” their communities. In the end, that seems to have played a much larger role than the weather in heading off violence.

Photo of protesters in Charlotte, North Carolina, Nov. 30, 2016: AP Images

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