Tensions from Charlotte simmer in the Triangle

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ByJoel Brown via WTVD logo
Friday, September 23, 2016
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Could the ugly scene this week in Charlotte be something that might be duplicated in the Triangle?

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Demonstrators staged protests across the Triangle in response to deadly police-involved shooting of Keith Scott in Charlotte.

One local activist warned the situation here, and many other places, is a powder keg just waiting to explode.

"I think what happened in the streets of Charlotte could happen anywhere," said Akiba Byrd, spokesman for the Raleigh-based Police Accountability Community Task Force or PACT. "The problem is everywhere, it's a powder keg."

Byrd says his group is keeping in close contact with protestors on the ground in Charlotte.

"We're communicating with them down there and we know what's happening," he said.

What's happening as PACT sees it, the reason for the powder keg -- is a lack of accountability for police when the person on the wrong side of an officer's weapon is black.


"Anytime it's OK for an officer, an armed agent of the state to walk up to somebody with a body cam, kill them, and walk away; and, they're protected, their footage is protected, yeah, you can expect people to be upset," Byrd said.

Forms of that frustration played out in the Triangle this week. Students marched and sang spirituals at St. Augustine's in Raleigh. And, in Durham, Duke Divinity School students rallied at Duke Chapel. They called it a stand for the Black Lives Matter movement.

But, back in Raleigh, nearly seven months after a Raleigh police officer was deemed justified in the deadly shooting of Akiel Denkins, Charlotte is re-opening a wound.

Byrd says he sees no evidence the culture within Raleigh PD has changed when it comes to policing communities of color.

"I haven't gotten that memo," Byrd said sarcastically. "We've been waiting since February 29th on Akiel Denkins. And, as far as the city is concerned, as far as the police is concerned, it's done and it's over. And, that brother is still gone. And, since then we've lost three more people to the police. What culture has changed?"

Much like Byrd's group argued at Raleigh City Hall over the winter during City Council hearings on Raleigh police body cameras, PACT is calling on Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police to release the Keith Scott body cam footage to the public to ensure accountability and transparency.

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