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Issues of Race, Police and Patriotism

Posted September 23rd, 2016 at 11:49 am (UTC-4)
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Protesters peaceably walked past police and national guardsmen Thursday night in Charlotte, North Carolina, a 180-degree turn from Wednesday’s near-riot that prompted the governor to declare a state of emergency.
The protests were over Tuesday’s killing of a black man by Charlotte police. Days before, on Friday, a black man was killed by police in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Video of both incidents exists. The video in Tulsa raises questions about whether deadly force was necessary, and manslaughter charges have been filed against the officer. In Charlotte, police and family members of the victim say the video is inconclusive in determining whether the man had a gun and was threatening the officers.
These killings have re-ignited the debate over social justice for African-Americans, a cause now taken up by some professional football players after San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick registered his protest by kneeling instead of standing during the pre-game national anthem.
As a battleground state in the presidential election, North Carolina, for the moment, stands at the intersection of American politics and American culture.

Black Lives, Blue Lines and the Political Megaphone

Posted July 19th, 2016 at 6:22 pm (UTC-4)
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Sunday’s murders of three police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana made Monday’s “Law and Order” theme at the Republican National Convention resonate louder.

Donald Trump has proclaimed himself the “law and order candidate” and criticized President Obama’s leadership on the issue in a Facebook post Sunday.

In a televised statement Sunday, Obama said “nothing justifies violence against law enforcement.” Monday he sent a letter to the National Fraternal Order of Police, expressing gratitude for the work of law enforcement officers, acknowledging the dangers they face and the valor in which they perform their duty.

But for some, Obama’s supportive words for police ring hollow because he has also voiced concern and understanding for blacks who have been killed by police under questionable circumstances.

As the Republican and Democratic conventions play out over the next two weeks, the political rhetoric about race and police will likely continue.