Protests erupted Tuesday in Charlotte, North Carolina after police shot and killed a 43-year-old black man named Keith Lamont Scott. The officer who shot him was also black. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said Wednesday that Scott was armed and posed a deadly threat. But at the scene, a woman who identified herself as Scott’s sister said he was reading a book and waiting for his son to be dropped off by the school bus.
In Los Angeles, the Police Commission ruled this week that officers had violated deadly force rules in two separate shootings last year. The LAPD shot 36 people last year, killing 21 of them. Meanwhile in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black man named Terence Crutcher on Friday after the 40-year-old’s car had broken down in the middle of a two-lane highway. Tulsa police released helicopter and dash cam video of the shooting this week, which Police Chief Chuck Jordan called very disturbing and difficult to watch. Chief Jordan made a promise to his community that justice will be served; but many are skeptical because in cases like this, murder or manslaughter convictions are rare. Press Play spoke with National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward about the latest police shootings. Ward’s new book, “The Fire this Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race,” was inspired, in part, by the killing of unarmed black men and women by police.