If you’ve been watching the headlines lately, you’ve surely been getting your daily dose of Presidential campaign coverage. We sit three days out from a presidential debate poised to reach fever pitch. Over the last year clashing views seem to have tipped the scale to and fro. Debates over immigration, national security, economics, the environment, economics as it relates to the environment and much more. Today, tribes are protesting to protect what’s left of their lands from imminent domain for energy production. Veterans, minorities & disabled communities fear for their safety as police interactions approach a breaking point.
September 11, 2016 – Washington, DC
Terrence Sterling, 31/M
Mr. Sterling was leaving a bachelor party on his motorcycle when police received a call about a motorcyclist leaving Adams Morgan, driving erratically. Officers spotted Mr. Sterling near 3rd & M streets in NW, DC and were ordered not to engage. Motorcycle culture or ‘#BikeLife’ is a constant point of contention in and around DC between enthusiasts, law enforcement and members of the community. In densely populated areas, a police chase of a motorcycle can put more citizens at risk than a lone rider driving erratically. As a public safety concern, DC has a strict “No-Chase” policy. Yet Mr. Sterling’s path was still cut off by police using their cruiser as a barricade.
An eyewitness who was stopped at the intersection said the collision appeared to be unavoidable. Mr. Sterling struck the passenger side of the police cruiser. The witness stated there were no words exchanged or commands given. The officer was unable to open the passenger door, made inoperable in the collision, as Mr. Sterling attempted to flee. The officer then rolled down his window, fired two shots, striking Mr. Sterling in the neck. As officers did not have their body cameras activated, only the aftermath was captured on video. Days later, as the Metropolitan Police Chief left Washington for her new position with the NFL, MPD updated their body camera policy, a bit. MPD has yet to release the names of the officers involved in the shooting.
Terrence Sterling was the latest casualty of a growing trend in the nations cap. James E. McBride was left lifeless after an interaction with Washington Hospital Center Special Police. Alonzo Smith was found by MPD in a hallway, handcuffed and not breathing. After 10 months, Mr. Smith’s mother is still waiting for the names of the two private security guards involved.
September 14, 2016 – Columbus, OH
Tyre King, 13/M
Armed with a BB gun, at a height of 5 ft even, weighing in under 100 lbs, Mr. King was being questioned in connection to a robbery. A man nearby was robbed of $10. Police had Mr. King and his friends detained for questioning. One of these friends stated after being ordered to the ground, Mr. King got up and began to run away. He was shot in his temple, collar bone and left side.
September 16, 2016 – Tulsa, OK
Terence Crutcher, 40/M
While the family admits Mr. Crutcher was not the model citizen, who is? Last Friday, before being criminalized by Tulsa police, Mr. Crutcher was acting as a criminal. He was scheduled to begin a music course. Unfortunately, he also appeared to have some car trouble. So what prompted police to shoot and taser Mr. Crutcher? It’s not clear whether Mr. Crutcher attempted to reach into the window of his vehicle while appearing to submit to police commands. The husband of the officer who shot Mr. Crutcher was in the helicopter above. A voice can be heard describing Mr. Crutcher’s appearance as looking like ‘a bad dude.’ The family is demanding justice, bias training and calling on the Tulsa Police Department to immediately deploy body cameras.
September 20, 2016 – Charlotte, NC
Keith Lamont Scott – 43/M
(Video: New York Times)
Conflicting reports claim Mr. Scott was in his car, either reading a book or holding a gun, while waiting for his grandson to be dismissed from school. A plain clothed officer, serving a warrant for another neighbor, spotted Mr. Scott in his vehicle. Police accounts state that Mr. Scott was observed exiting the vehicle with a firearm (or a book) in hand and getting back into the vehicle. When ordered to drop the gun (or book) and exit the vehicle, Mr. Scott would not drop the firearm (or book). Posing an imminent threat to officers, Mr. Scott was fatally shot.
These are four snapshots into a week of strong policing in America. As Black and blue tensions rise, local communities and governments scramble to find techniques to defuse the situations. North Carolina remains under a state of emergency. Wednesday night, during protests, there was yet another police involved shooting that left a victim in critical condition.
Every city has their own climate. What triggers an uproar in Charlotte may draw a different reaction in Washington (DC). North Carolina declared a state of emergency after the second night of protests, some peaceful, some destructive. Protesters drew a line in the sands of I-85, stopping traffic and destroying cargo from 18-wheelers caught on the interstate corridor. In Columbus, OH over 100 protesters gathered for a peaceful demonstration. They chanted “No Justice, No Peace” & “Safety for whom?” while taking a knee for Mr. King. In Tulsa prayer vigils and peaceful protests have taken place. Tulsa Police Department deactivated their Twitter account as trolls and tweeter venting became a bit overwhelming (more like intellectual underwhelming). Officer Shelby was charged on Wednesday with Felony Assault in the First Degree.
UPDATE(S): Keith Lamont Scott’s (Charlotte, NC) family was allowed to view the footage of the shooting. The family lawyer says he can be seen walking backwards under police orders when he was shot to death.
Charlotte, NC protester Justin Carr, who sustained gun shot wounds at the Omni Hotel succumb to his injuries yesterday. This morning a civilian was arrested in Mecklenburg county in connection to his murder.