A Charlotte resident moved a room of people to tears as she pleaded for justice and peace following the police shooting death of Keith L. Scott.
The Charlotte Observer reports Zianna Oliphant gave a passionate and tearful speech about racism and the importance of family. Residents gathered inside the Government Center at City Hall to discuss the shooting and call for the resignations of Mayor Jennifer Roberts and the city’s Police Chief Kerr Putney for their handlings of the incident. A total of 40 people spoke at the tense meeting, including Zianna, who’s tears represented the frustrations residents have felt since Scott died at the hands of a police office last Tuesday (Sept. 20).
“It’s a shame that our fathers and mothers are killed, and we can’t see them anymore,” Zianna said. “It’s a shame that we have to go to their graveyard and bury them — and we have tears. We shouldn’t have tears. We need our fathers and mothers to be by our side.”
Protests have continued in the city, in which one man died. Justin Carr was shot in the head by another civilian Wednesday night (Sept. 25) and died the next day from his wounds. Protesters and activists have been arrested and charged with a variety of offenses such as standing in the street and resist to looting. Day six of protests resulted in 11 arrests Monday evening (Sept. 26), reports WBTV.
Police accounts of the Scott shooting continue to claim Scott was in possession of a gun. While one cannot be seen in his hand in released recordings from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police and Scott’s wife, Putney told reporters Saturday (Sept. 24) Scott posed a threat to the officers.
In the midst of turmoil, Zianna shared with council members that justice should prevail over tragedy. “I’ve been born and raised in Charlotte. And I never felt this way till now, and I can’t stand how we’re treated,” she said. “We are black people and we shouldn’t have to feel like this. We shouldn’t have to protest because y’all are treating us wrong. We do this because we need to and have rights.”
See her speech in its entirety below.