Friday, September 23, 2016

Keith Scott’s Family Sees Videos of His Killing, and Says the Public Should, Too

The following excerpts are taken from the NY Times article "Keith Scott’s Family Sees Videos of His Killing, and Says the Public Should, Too" (Sept 22, 2016)



>> [...] On Thursday night, hundreds of people gathered at an intersection in central Charlotte, holding signs and chanting “We want the tapes!” in a peaceful demonstration.

Mayor Jennifer Roberts ordered a midnight-to-6-a.m. curfew, the first since the unrest began.

Some protesters marched to the police station and held a moment of silence, fists raised in tribute to a man who was fatally shot during the previous night’s protest and to those killed by the police. They marched to the county jail and chanted for the inmates behind little slatted windows. Some inside blinked their lights off and on in apparent solidarity.

Later, Interstate 277 was shut down as demonstrators went onto the roadway, and the police fired smoke to try to disperse the protesters.

Mr. Scott’s death touched off violence in Charlotte on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. As hundreds of National Guard troops and State Police officers fanned out across the city on Thursday in an effort to head off further violence, Chief Kerr Putney of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police brushed aside demands by activists, community leaders and the news media to make the police video public.

“We release it when we believe there is a compelling reason,” he said. [...] <<

(source: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/23/us/charlotte-protests-keith-scott.html)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Puerto Rico Hit With Islandwide Blackout After Fire Erupts

The following excerpts are taken from the NY Times article "Puerto Rico Hit With Islandwide Blackout After Fire Erupts" (Sept 21, 2016)



>> SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A big fire erupted at an electricity plant that powers most of Puerto Rico on Wednesday, causing a blackout that swept across the U.S. territory of 3.5 million people.

[...] "The entire island is without power," said Angel Crespo, director of Puerto Rico's fire department.

[...] The outage also affected water service across the island, with officials urging customers to be prudent in their usage.

[...] The outage angered many Puerto Ricans who are struggling with power bills that are on average twice that of the U.S. mainland. People took to social media to demand where exactly their money is going.

Puerto Rico is mired in a decade-long economic slump, and a newly created federal control board is working to restructure nearly $70 billion in public debt that the governor has said is unpayable. <<

(source: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2016/09/21/world/americas/ap-cb-puerto-rico-power-outage.html)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Anger Simmers in Charlotte as 2 Narratives of Police Shooting Take Hold

The following excerpts are taken from the NY Times article "Anger Simmers in Charlotte as 2 Narratives of Police Shooting Take Hold" (Sept 21, 2016)



>> CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A night of violent clashes between the authorities and protesters after the fatal police shooting of an African-American man left North Carolina’s largest city on edge Wednesday, as competing narratives began to take hold and residents here braced for the possibility of further unrest.

Officials in Charlotte urged calm and reiterated their position that the Tuesday afternoon shooting of the man, Keith L. Scott, 43, occurred after he posed an “imminent deadly threat” to police officers. But at the University City apartment complex where Mr. Scott was killed, critics of the city government suggested that investigators were covering up a murder, and cast doubts on the police’s account.

At a news conference on Wednesday, Kerr Putney, chief of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, said officers had found the gun that the police said Mr. Scott had brandished before an officer fatally shot him and were examining police video of the encounter between Mr. Scott and officers as Mr. Scott stepped out of a car.

[...] While family members of Mr. Scott have said that he was unarmed, and was holding only a book, Chief Putney said Wednesday morning, “We did not find a book.”

About an hour later, John Barnett, a civil rights activist in Charlotte, said during a raucous news conference near the site of the shooting that Mr. Scott had simply been waiting for his son to arrive home from school.

“The truth of the matter is, he didn’t point that gun,” Mr. Barnett said. “Did he intend to really sit in a vehicle, waiting on his son to get home from school and then plot to shoot a cop if they pulled up on him?”

[...] Some [residents of the apartment complex] gave a different account from the police of which officer had fired the fatal shots, and others said that no one had tried to administer C.P.R. on Mr. Scott as officials had said.

Some activists demanded an economic boycott of Charlotte, a hub of commerce and culture in North Carolina.

“Since black lives do not matter for this city, then our black dollars should not matter,” said B. J. Murphy, another Charlotte activist. “We’re watching a modern-day lynching on social media, on television and it is affecting the psyche of black people.”

Mr. Murphy added: “Everybody in Charlotte should be on notice that black people, today, we’re tired of this bull. We’re tired of being killed and nobody saying nothing. We’re tired of our political leaders going along to get along; they’re so weak, they don’t have no sympathy for our grief. And we want justice.”

[...] Mr. Murphy said pointedly that he expected more demonstrations.

[...] Later, a chant of “Hands up! Don’t shoot” began. A man, deep into the crowd, shouted his gloomy assessment: “If you put your hands up, they’re still going to shoot.”

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Wednesday that the Justice Department “is aware of, and we are assessing, the incident that led to the death of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte.”

On Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning, protesters blocked Interstate 85 and looted material from a tractor-trailer before setting the cargo ablaze, Chief Putney said. Other demonstrators threw rocks at officers, causing at least 16 injuries and damage to several police cars. The police made one arrest and used tear gas to disperse protesters.

[...] The protests began in the University City neighborhood in northeast Charlotte, near the University of North Carolina at Charlotte campus. WSOC-TV reported that looters later moved off the highway and tried to break into a Walmart before officers arrived in force to keep them out, and at least one family driving on Interstate 85 reported that their car’s windshield had been shattered by demonstrators throwing rocks.

In a series of Twitter posts, Mayor Jennifer Roberts urged calm and promised a thorough investigation into the death of Mr. Scott.

[...] Although their accounts sometimes diverged, members of Mr. Scott’s family generally told local news outlets that he had not had a weapon. Instead, they said, he had been clutching a book while waiting to pick up a child after school.

[...] The shooting in Charlotte this week was the latest in a string of deaths of black people at the hands of the police that have stoked outrage around the country. It came just a few days after a white police officer in Tulsa, Okla., fatally shot Terence Crutcher, a black man who was unarmed and could be seen on video raising his hands above his head. The encounters, many of them at least partly caught on video, have led to intense debate about race relations and law enforcement.

[...] On Facebook, a woman who identified herself as Mr. Scott’s daughter said the police had fired without provocation.

“The police just shot my daddy four times for being black,” the woman said moments into a Facebook Live broadcast that lasted about an hour. Later in the broadcast, she learned that her father had died and speculated that the police were planting evidence. [...] <<

(source: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/22/us/keith-scott-charlotte-police-shooting.html)

Anger Simmers in Charlotte as 2 Narratives of Police Shooting Take Hold

The following excerpts are taken from the NY Times article "Anger Simmers in Charlotte as 2 Narratives of Police Shooting Take Hold" (Sept 21, 2016)

>> CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A night of violent clashes between the authorities and protesters after the fatal police shooting of an African-American man left North Carolina’s largest city on edge Wednesday, as competing narratives began to take hold and residents here braced for the possibility of further unrest.

Officials in Charlotte urged calm and reiterated their position that the Tuesday afternoon shooting of the man, Keith L. Scott, 43, occurred after he posed an “imminent deadly threat” to police officers. But at the University City apartment complex where Mr. Scott was killed, critics of the city government suggested that investigators were covering up a murder, and cast doubts on the police’s account.

At a news conference on Wednesday, Kerr Putney, chief of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, said officers had found the gun that the police said Mr. Scott had brandished before an officer fatally shot him and were examining police video of the encounter between Mr. Scott and officers as Mr. Scott stepped out of a car.

[...] While family members of Mr. Scott have said that he was unarmed, and was holding only a book, Chief Putney said Wednesday morning, “We did not find a book.”

About an hour later, John Barnett, a civil rights activist in Charlotte, said during a raucous news conference near the site of the shooting that Mr. Scott had simply been waiting for his son to arrive home from school.

“The truth of the matter is, he didn’t point that gun,” Mr. Barnett said. “Did he intend to really sit in a vehicle, waiting on his son to get home from school and then plot to shoot a cop if they pulled up on him?”

[...] Some [residents of the apartment complex] gave a different account from the police of which officer had fired the fatal shots, and others said that no one had tried to administer C.P.R. on Mr. Scott as officials had said.

Some activists demanded an economic boycott of Charlotte, a hub of commerce and culture in North Carolina.

“Since black lives do not matter for this city, then our black dollars should not matter,” said B. J. Murphy, another Charlotte activist. “We’re watching a modern-day lynching on social media, on television and it is affecting the psyche of black people.”

Mr. Murphy added: “Everybody in Charlotte should be on notice that black people, today, we’re tired of this bull. We’re tired of being killed and nobody saying nothing. We’re tired of our political leaders going along to get along; they’re so weak, they don’t have no sympathy for our grief. And we want justice.”

[...] Mr. Murphy said pointedly that he expected more demonstrations.

[...] Later, a chant of “Hands up! Don’t shoot” began. A man, deep into the crowd, shouted his gloomy assessment: “If you put your hands up, they’re still going to shoot.”

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Wednesday that the Justice Department “is aware of, and we are assessing, the incident that led to the death of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte.”

On Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning, protesters blocked Interstate 85 and looted material from a tractor-trailer before setting the cargo ablaze, Chief Putney said. Other demonstrators threw rocks at officers, causing at least 16 injuries and damage to several police cars. The police made one arrest and used tear gas to disperse protesters.

[...] The protests began in the University City neighborhood in northeast Charlotte, near the University of North Carolina at Charlotte campus. WSOC-TV reported that looters later moved off the highway and tried to break into a Walmart before officers arrived in force to keep them out, and at least one family driving on Interstate 85 reported that their car’s windshield had been shattered by demonstrators throwing rocks.

In a series of Twitter posts, Mayor Jennifer Roberts urged calm and promised a thorough investigation into the death of Mr. Scott.

[...] Although their accounts sometimes diverged, members of Mr. Scott’s family generally told local news outlets that he had not had a weapon. Instead, they said, he had been clutching a book while waiting to pick up a child after school.

[...] The shooting in Charlotte this week was the latest in a string of deaths of black people at the hands of the police that have stoked outrage around the country. It came just a few days after a white police officer in Tulsa, Okla., fatally shot Terence Crutcher, a black man who was unarmed and could be seen on video raising his hands above his head. The encounters, many of them at least partly caught on video, have led to intense debate about race relations and law enforcement.

[...] On Facebook, a woman who identified herself as Mr. Scott’s daughter said the police had fired without provocation.

“The police just shot my daddy four times for being black,” the woman said moments into a Facebook Live broadcast that lasted about an hour. Later in the broadcast, she learned that her father had died and speculated that the police were planting evidence. [...] <<

(source: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/22/us/keith-scott-charlotte-police-shooting.html)

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Young Blacks Voice Skepticism on Hillary Clinton, Worrying Democrats

The following excerpts are taken from the NY Times article "Young Blacks Voice Skepticism on Hillary Clinton, Worrying Democrats" (Sept 4, 2016)



>> WASHINGTON — When a handful of liberal advocacy organizations convened a series of focus groups with young black voters last month, the assessments of Donald J. Trump were predictably unsparing.

But when the participants were asked about Hillary Clinton, their appraisals were just as blunt and nearly as biting.

“What am I supposed to do if I don’t like him and I don’t trust her?” a millennial black woman in Ohio asked. “Choose between being stabbed and being shot? No way!”

“She was part of the whole problem that started sending blacks to jail,” a young black man, also from Ohio, observed about Mrs. Clinton.

[...] Young African-Americans, like all voters their age, are typically far harder to drive to the polls than middle-aged and older Americans. Yet with just over two months until Election Day, many Democrats are expressing alarm at the lack of enthusiasm, and in some cases outright resistance, some black millennials feel toward Mrs. Clinton.

Their skepticism is rooted in a deep discomfort with the political establishment that they believe the 68-year-old former first lady and secretary of state represents. They share a lingering mistrust of Mrs. Clinton and her husband over criminal justice issues. They are demanding more from politicians as part of a new, confrontational wave of black activism that has arisen in response to police killings of unarmed African-Americans.

[...] Mrs. Clinton’s difficulties with young African-Americans were laid bare in four focus groups conducted in Cleveland and Jacksonville, Fla., for a handful of progressive organizations spending millions on the election: the service employees union, a joint “super PAC” between organized labor and the billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, and a progressive group called Project New America. The results were outlined in a 25-page presentation by Cornell Belcher, a Democratic pollster, and shared with The New York Times ...

Word of the report has spread in the constellation of liberal operatives and advocacy groups in recent weeks, concerning officials who saw diminished black turnout hurt Democratic candidates in the last two midterm elections.

[...] Doubts about how aggressively Mrs. Clinton will move to combat racism are at the heart of black suspicion toward her. Some African-Americans said her 1996 reference to some young criminals as “super-predators,” and the legislation that President Bill Clinton signed imposing stiff sentences on nonviolent offenders, have made today’s activists skeptical about her true intentions. [...] <<

(source: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/05/us/politics/young-blacks-voice-skepticism-on-hillary-clinton-worrying-democrats.html)