The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is in danger of further straining relations with citizens when its employees make public statements about the community not caring about shooting deaths.
I watched a report that aired last night on WCNC showing Maj. Ryan Butler tell reporters,” Until the community cares, nothing is going to change.”
Butler was frustrated by the death of a 5-year-old girl shot Sept. 10 on Elgywood Lane. He told reporters it was the fourth homicide scene he’s been to this week.
While some people may find Butler’s remarks refreshing or humanizing, I don’t think it’s a fair to paint the people in an apartment complex, neighborhood or the city in such a broad stroke.
Butler also alluded to recent protests, noting that nobody is marching on behalf of the victims of these shootings.
People in this community care. That has been the point behind the protests over police killing unarmed Black people.
The difference between the death of George Floyd and the murders happening right now in Charlotte is that we know who George Floyd was, we watched his arrest and we watched him die. We don’t know anything about these recent victims.
Go to any Black Lives Matter protest and you hear demonstrators shouting the names of the dead. Who are the victims of these shootings? Police won’t say. How did they die? Police won’t say. What do we think happened? Police won’t say.
I understand that we need to protect the integrity of investigations so that we can ensure arrests and convictions, but I believe CMPD could be more successful if the department was more transparent with the public.
What kind of information do you need from the public to make an arrest? Be specific.
You had multiple news stations at the scene of last night’s shooting trying to get information out to the public and you had a police representative telling them the “why, who and what” doesn’t matter as much as the narrative of a 5-year-old girl getting killed.
I’m not a police hater. Throughout my life, officers have helped me in moments of despair.
There is nothing I want more than for the police to take pride in their jobs and the community to take pride in their police. But CMPD must refrain from using passive aggressive tones with its messaging, especially if it needs cooperation from the public.
What if CMPD worked with the families of these victims to organize a vigil or a march on their behalf that was actually sincere and not transactional? It wouldn’t fix everything overnight, but it would be a start.