As Raleigh braces for a weekend of Black Lives Matter protests, another city police officer won’t face charges for killing a Black man.
Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin placed a curfew on the city Friday and Saturday from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. the next morning. Protesters had already planned to gather at 7 p.m. Friday on Fayetteville in reaction to the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, who was struck by seven bullets after trying to break up a fight between two women.
In a now-viral video, police turned their guns on Blake, who survived but is now partially paralyzed. The shooting happened in front of his children.
Protests erupted in Kenosha and two days later on August 25, a white 17-year-old wannabe cop named Kyle Rittenhouse opened fire on the protesters, killing two.
Baldwin’s decision to lock down the city came the same day Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman announced she would not be pressing charges against police officer W.P. Tapscott, who killed Keith Dutree Collins in January. In that event, a woman had called to report seeing a Black man acting shady with what appeared to be a gun. Collins was hit by six of the 11 rounds fired by Tapscott, including seven shots after Collins was already on the ground bleeding to death.
Members of the media were allowed to view body camera footage of the killing after the incident but were not allowed to slow down or pause the video. Numerous community members who viewed the footage, including Rolanda Byrd, president of the Raleigh Police Accountability Taskforce, have stated that the officer used “excessive force.”
Freeman, who was able to slow down the video, apparently saw something different.
“Based on all the evidence available, it is the conclusion of the district attorney that Officer (W.P.) Tapscott reasonably believed that his life was endangered when he shot Mr. Collins and that therefore the use of force was lawful,” Freeman stated. “In slowing down the body cam video, it is possible to see Mr. Collins turn and point what appears to be a gun in Officer Tapscott’s direction prior to Officer Tapscott firing at Mr. Collins.”
After he was on the ground, Freeman continued, video footage shows he attempted to rise again, apparently justifying the seven more shots Tapscott fired.
Across the nation, there has been a wave of protests—including a wildcat strike from the Milwaukee Bucks last night, who refused to play an NBA bubble game against the Orlando Magic.
In the flyers circulated for the Raleigh march Friday, organizers call for “justice for Jacob Blake” and “solidarity with [the] Kenosha uprising.”
The curfew issuance—the first since June—stated that there were “There are limited exemptions to the curfew” but did not clarify what those exceptions were.
“By setting a curfew, it is my hope that we can allow those assembled the opportunity to exercise their right to free speech in a peaceful way, without violence or destruction from opportunists who don’t share the goals of peaceful protesters,” Mary-Ann Baldwins said in a news release. “We want to create a safe space for all who want to come together while maintaining a sense of civility and accountability. Raleigh is our home and downtown is the heart and the heartbeat of our community.”
Baldwin also stated that Black Lives Matter protests must “continue until we begin to see real change in the hearts and minds of our country.”
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