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.

‘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.

POLITICAL WRAP: Biden Administration & Justice Department Efforts on Police Reform

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Closing arguments are expected this week in the Derek Chauvin trial. It comes as protests continue over the killing of Daunte Wright. And tensions are high in Chigago with the video release in the police killing of a 13-year-old.

All this coming as the Biden administration and Attorney General Merrick Garland promise more federal oversight of local police departments

Black Issues Forum: A Tense Trial, Building Broadband & the Filibuster’s Future

WTVD reporter Tim Pulliam and “Roll Call” columnist and host of the “Equal Time” podcast Mary C. Curtis join Black Issues Forum to discuss the start of Derek Chauvin’s trial, Pres. Biden’s new infrastructure plan, the racial component to the fight over the filibuster, possible redistricting changes in North Carolina, and a new lawsuit targeting a Confederate monument.

Airing: 04/02/21

Reform Redo, Evolving Elections & the Voice of Black Women

Mary C. Curtis (columnist for “Roll Call” & host of the “Equal Time” podcast), attorney and political analyst Jessica Holmes, and writer Courtney Napier break down some of the week’s headlines through the eyes of Black women. Marcella Howard (In Our Own Voice) and Omisade Burney-Scott (“Black Girls’ Guide to Surviving Menopause”) also break down the growing reproductive justice movement.

Reporters’ Roundtable

Another very busy week in the news with some big stories still developing. New threats against Capitol Hill and a hearing that raised a lot questions about the January 6th insurection.  The covid relief bill and the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act are making their way through Capitol Hill.  And New York Governor Andrew Cuomo faces sexual harassment allegations.

Special Program – Black Charlotteans: A Candid Conversation On Race

The death of George Floyd and the unrest that exploded across the country has forced a conversation on the table. It’s a wake-up call for America to examine the impact of racism and reckon with injustices people of color face daily. Every Black American has a story to tell. Is the country ready to listen? Award-winning columnist Mary C. Curtis sits down with fellow Charlotteans of color to share some of those stories and reflect on this moment.

Host:

Mary C. Curtis, journalist, speaker, columnist at CQ Roll Call, and contributor to WFAE, WCCB-TV and a variety of national outlets. She is senior facilitator with The OpEd Project.

Panelists:

Tracey Benson, assistant professor of educational leadership at UNC Charlotte and author of “Unconscious Bias in Schools: A Developmental Approach to Exploring Race and Racism.”

Justin Perry, owner and therapist at Perry Counseling Healing and Recovery. He is a partner with the group Charlotte for Black Futures

Tonya Jameson, political consultant, former Charlotte Observer reporter

Leondra Garrett, native Charlottean and longtime community advocate who works with the groups Block Love Charlotte and United Neighborhoods of Charlotte to build community and feed our homeless neighbors.