POLITICAL WRAP: Efforts at Police Reform

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Police reform is back in the spotlight.

It comes as protests continue in the fatal shooting of a Black man by deputies in Elizabeth City.

Andrew Brown Jr. will be laid to rest on Monday.

When ‘America First’ is a ticket to last place

It came and went in a second, in political time, a proposed idea that proved too racist for the politician reportedly behind it. But an “America First” caucus that was disavowed, sort of, by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and several of her Republican colleagues who at first seemed ready to sign up should be treated as more than a ridiculous sideshow.

The notions that fueled a “draft” stating the group’s principles have lingered, becoming part of a conversation that’s becoming a little less shocking and a lot more routine.

That’s one takeaway from Greene’s enormous fundraising haul, despite her lack of House committee assignments and useful endeavors. Even though the Georgia Republican backed away when the caucus’s endorsement of “Anglo-Saxon political traditions” leaked out, the very idea seemed to excite some GOP lawmakers and ignite a constituency that is larger than many “real” Americans would like to admit.

You know, the real American citizens of every race, creed, color, orientation and national origin, who believe in the ideals of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence without reservation, despite the country’s history of both triumphs and failures on that score. They are the Americans not surprised, but still disappointed that too many of their neighbors, co-workers and elected representatives are willing to toss democracy if that’s what it takes to hold on to the power they perceive to be slipping away, and justify it all with a sense of superiority — cultural and otherwise.

Reporters’ Roundtable

We’re at the Reporters’ Roundtable examining the top stories of the week.  Big changes in CDC recommendations for wearing masks and more shooting of unarmed black men by authorities. WHUR’s ‘Daily Drum’ with host Harold Fisher and guests Mary C. Curtis and political analyst Charles Ellison.

 

Mary C. Curtis: NC Gains Seat in Congress After 2020 Census

CHARLOTTE, NC — North Carolina has gained another seat in congress based on new census data.

The state will get a 14th seat in the house, which means North Carolina is also gaining an electoral vote.

WCCB Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis is breaking it all down.

You can catch Mary C. Curtis on Sunday nights at 6:30 PM on WCCB Charlotte’s CW discussing the biggest issues in local and national politics and also giving us a look at what’s ahead for the week.

You can also check out Mary’s podcast ‘Equal Time.’

DNC Chair Jaime Harrison

Jaime Harrison gained national attention last year when he broke fundraising records running against South Carolina incumbent Sen. Lindsey Graham. While Harrison didn’t win the election, his candidacy gave notice that the Old South is now the New South. Mary C. Curtis sits down with the Democratic National Committee chair and talks race, his grandfather’s life lesson and what 2022 — yes 2022 — may hold.

POLITICAL WRAP: Biden Address to Joint Session of Congress Happening Wednesday

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Nearly 100 days after taking office, President Joe Biden is finally set to give his first formal address to a joint session of Congress.

Wednesday’s speech will give the President an opportunity to make the case for his $2 trillion infrastructure plan and other legislative priorities.

‘More people are afraid of the police than community violence’

It’s been 30 years since the world saw Rodney King on video being beaten by Los Angeles police officers. Since then, the list of Black people killed at the hands of police has grown — Eric Garner, Daunte Wright and Ma’Khia Bryant, the 16-year old Black girl shot hours before Chauvin was pronounced guilty of murdering George Floyd. Mary C. Curtis speaks to activist and podcast host DeRay McKesson on how to challenge the power of the police and how policies can be changed for the better.

One Black life mattered, this time

Remember when three Black women proclaimed that Black Lives Matter? It was in 2013 after a jury found George Zimmerman not guilty in the fatal shooting of unarmed Black teen Trayvon Martin in Florida. It seemed so essential and overdue for Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi to found a movement to defiantly claim what America had too often denied.

Yet it was controversial. The willfully blind countered with “All Lives Matter,” as though saying that would make it so. Then, there were suggestions: “Don’t you think it would be less divisive if the signs read ‘Black Lives Matter, Too?’”

In all honesty, anyone who did not get it was not going to with the addition of one three-letter word. But then the world witnessed Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin press his knee on the neck of George Floyd for nine minutes and 29 seconds. That the doubters needed video evidence was infuriating, when Black and brown Americans had been bearing witness for hundreds of years. But communities craving visibility and justice welcomed the opened eyes and protests by all ages and races.

It was certainly never a sure thing that Chauvin would be found guilty on all murder and manslaughter charges, as he was. There was also video of the killings of Philando Castile in Minnesota in 2016 and Walter Scott in North Charleston, S.C., in 2015. Yet in Castile’s case, police officer Jeronimo Yanez was found not guilty. And in Scott’s case, after the first prosecution ended in a hung jury, it took a federal prosecution to gain a plea from former police officer Michael Slager — despite the evidence a brave citizen recorded of Slager shooting Scott in the back, taking aim while standing 15 to 20 feet away, and then throwing his Taser down to concoct a false story for his department to swallow and regurgitate as truth. (Another bit of mild relief this week as Slager’s 20-year sentence was upheld.)

No wonder so many were holding our collective breath.

Unique circumstances

The Chauvin Trial: A Black Issues Forum Special

A jury convicted ex-police officer Derek Chauvin of murder on three counts. A special panel weighs in on what this decision means for Black communities, policing, and the future of equal justice. Deborah Noel is joined by journalist Mary C. Curtis, UNC-CH scholar Erica Wilson, and community activist Greear Webb.

Mary C. Curtis: Derek Chauvin Verdict

CHARLOTTE, NC — Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is found guilty on all counts of murder and manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd.

In the rare case of a police officer brought up on charges and found guilty in the killing of a Black person, the prosecutors mounted a strong case: video evidence, witness testimony, police officers including the police chief testifying that Chauvin did not follow policy.

What happens next on the issue of police reform and Black Lives Matter?

You can catch Mary C. Curtis on Sunday nights at 6:30 PM on WCCB Charlotte’s CW discussing the biggest issues in local and national politics and also giving us a look at what’s ahead for the week.