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Racial Justice

The ACLU is dedicated to combating racial and ethnic bias and upholding racial equality in order to preserve and extend constitutionally guaranteed rights to people who have historically been denied their rights on the basis of race or ethnicity. Our Racial Justice Project works with local communities to investigate reports of racial profiling across North Carolina. 

CHARLOTTE – Today Mecklenburg County District Attorney Andrew Murray announced that he will not bring charges against the police officer who killed Keith Lamont Scott. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has said that Mr. Scott was shot while officers were trying to execute an arrest warrant for a different person.

Susanna Birdsong, Policy Counsel of the ACLU of North Carolina, had this comment:

“The district attorney’s decision not to bring charges in Keith Lamont Scott’s killing leaves the people of Charlotte with profound and unsettling questions. How will the city and the police department ensure that this kind of tragedy doesn’t happen again? What steps has or will the city take to heal the community’s pain and do everything it can to prevent the police from causing such pain in the future? The bottom line is, whether or not the facts here should have resulted in criminal charges, Mr. Scott should be alive today.

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Keith Lamont Scott deserves justice

Posted on in Racial Justice

This week a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott, the 164th Black man killed by U.S. police this year. Mr. Scott was not a suspect for any crime. Officers were trying to execute a warrant for a different person.

Keith Lamont Scott deserves justice, and the public and Mr. Scott’s family deserve answers. That begins with transparency.

Tell Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts and Police Chief Kerr Putney to release any and all police camera footage of the events surrounding Mr. Scott’s killing.

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CHARLOTTE – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina today called on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department to release any body or dash cam footage that captured yesterday’s police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, the 194th Black person killed by U.S. police this year. Police say Mr. Scott was shot and killed while officers were trying to execute an arrest warrant for a different person.

A new North Carolina law, HB 972, will prevent law enforcement agencies from releasing body camera footage in the public interest without a court order, but the law does not take effect until October 1. All Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers are supposed to be equipped with body cameras while on patrol and the cameras should be in use any time an arrest is made, according to department policy.  

Karen Anderson, Executive Director of the ACLU of North Carolina, released the following statement:

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The shooting of Akiel Denkins, a 24-year-old African American father of two, by a Raleigh police officer points to the urgent need for Raleigh to adopt policies that will make its police department more transparent, combat biased policing, and hold officers accountable when they violate their pledge to protect and serve.

We join Akiel's family and the Raleigh community in demanding answers. But what we already know is that in North Carolina and across the nation, people of color are far too often victims of excessive use of force by police officers, often during routine encounters. In many cases, the officers involved are not held accountable.

Tell the Raleigh City Council to hold a public hearing on ways the Raleigh Police Department can be more transparent, combat biased policing, and hold officers accountable when they violate their pledge to protect and serve.

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ACLU Comment on Raleigh Police Shooting

Posted on in Racial Justice

RALEIGH – The Raleigh Police Department has confirmed an officer-involved shooting near downtown Raleigh today. Reports from the scene say shooting was fatal and the victim is Akiel Denkins, a 24-year-old African American man. The shooting occurred on the same day that the Raleigh City Council was scheduled to discuss the issue of police officer worn body cameras, which the Raleigh Police Department does not yet have, but the item was removed from today’s agenda after the shooting.

“Along with many community members in Raleigh, we are alarmed by these reports, trying to learn more details about what happened, and express our deepest condolences to Akiel’s family,” said Sarah Preston, acting Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina. “What we do know is that far too many people of color are victims of wrongful targeting and excessive use of force by law enforcement officers across the country, and North Carolina is not immune to that reality. The public and the victim’s family deserve answers about today’s shooting, and we urge the State Bureau of Investigation and Raleigh Police Department to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation. On a day when the Raleigh City Council was scheduled to discuss officer worn body cameras, this shooting points to the urgent need for North Carolina’s second-largest city’s police department to adopt this crucial technology and an accompanying policy that guarantees it will be used to promote officer accountability and transparency.”