It was just over a year ago that Walter Scott was shot and killed in North Charleston. The officer who shot him is out on bond and awaiting trial.
Two more officer involved shootings happened within two days of each other, on in Louisiana and one in Minnesota. The community agreed that something needs to change. They say these shootings are happening again and again and it’s a nationwide problem.
Community activist, Pastor Thomas Dixon, says, “Between Walter Scott and now, we’ve had quite a few officer involved shootings right here in the state of South Carolina there’s been more. When does it stop?”
One local woman, Celeste Kinloch, says, “It wasn’t long before Walter Scott and now something else again, I really don’t understand it.”
The shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota both involved a police officer killing a black man.
Local man Andy Smythe says, “There’s a lot of energy involved and a lot of stakes involved in all these interactions, and I’m not surprised that we don’t see this level of distrust but also this level of violence among each other.”
One woman, Kay Garrett, says,”It’s so unbelievably scary because it’s our justice system at the top of it, and how is it even possible that it’s happening here?”
One local man, Travis Bennett, says, “I believe it’s ridiculous that it’s going on and something needs to be done about it because people are being killed for apparently no reason.”
Teaching children how to behave at a traffic stop has become mandatory in parenting.
Dixon says, “We tell our our sons and our daughters really how to behave when you’re pulled over by police. Don’t make any sudden movements, keep your hands in sight, tell them about anything you have if you have to go into your glove box . A protocol that we pass on in order to protect ourselves.”
Bennett says, “Basically yeah, make sure you stop in a lighted area, with people around, call somebody before you open your windows or whatever.”
They say they have to learn how to stay safe from people who are meant to protect them.
Kinloch says, “Stop shooting them until you find out what’s going on, they just keep shooting people, I don’t understand.”
Smythe says, “It’s going to be about behavior and predictable, consistent behavior. So I think if we see that out of the policing community, and I’m not pointing a finger at the policing community, don’t get me wrong, but I think if we can see that proliferating throughout the policing community we will see better outcomes in the long term.”