New Development in Charlotte Police Shooting: Pot

Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images

The police slaying of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina,  Sept. 20 set off days of angry protests and riots, ultimately resulting in a midnight curfew and mobilization of the National Guard to the city’s streets. Police eventually released body and dashboard video footage of the fatal incident.

Now cannabis possession seems to have played a role in the incident. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerry Putney said at a Sept. 24 news conference that officers were trying to serve a warrant for someone else when they spotted Scott rolling a small quantity of pot in his car. On closer inspection, they saw Scott had a weapon and thought, “Uh oh, this is a safety issue for us and the public,” Putney said.

An official police press statement similarly said the officers saw Scott rolling “what they believed to be a marijuana ‘blunt'” before noticing the gun. “Due to the combination of illegal drugs and the gun Mr. Scott had in his possession, officers decided to take enforcement action for public safety concerns,” the statement said. Scott’s family and neighbors say he was unarmed.

In previous such cases—Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Michael Brown in Ferguson and Trayvon Martin in Sanford—pro-cop pundits have exploited the cannabis stigma to posthumously tarnish the reputation of the victim.

Protests stayed peaceful the night of Sept. 24, although a group of clergy and demonstrators defied the curfew to hold a prayer vigil outside the Charrlotte-Mecklenburg police headquarters, ABC reported. The curfew was finally lifted the next night, but the city remains tense.

As the video in the Soctt case is reviewed and the media assemble their narrative, the voices of cannabis advocates should be heard repudiating this irrational prejudice. Armed or not, Scott was minding his own business. Nobody deserves to die for rolling a blunt.

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  1. Obey the cops and, except in some extreme cases (bound to happen with millions and millions of people and a terrible education system) you stand a better chance of not getting shot. Since when is it OK to argue with the cops? Since when did it become OK to not follow their instructions? Since when did people start thinking that resisting arrest would get them anywhere good? Don’t like the charge? Deal with it in court, not on the street where you die like a fool for all to see. There are abusive cops, and abusive people of ALL races, shapes, and sizes. And there are racists among them all. But that doesn’t mean ALL cops, or ALL blacks or ALL whites, or ALL Mexicans, etc., are villians.

    Think there is no hope and you might as well go down swinging? That YOUR particular group/category is being hunted by THE MAN? You need to relax, smoke a bowl, and realize you are simply not that special and the cops are probably not considering YOU worth all the paperwork, time, trials, etc., just so they can kill little old YOU. Dump the conspiracy b.s., you have swallowed. The internet, and agenda driven idiots make it sound like cops are out there hunting people down for sport. Yeah, right up there with other conspiracy b.s.

    There certainly are some people WHO SHOULD NEVER BECOME A COP TO BEGIN WITH. And there are others who maybe have reached a point where they need to seek work in another field. No shame in that. But like everything else, the simple will be unnecessarily complicated by greedy foolish agenda driven politicians.

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