Charlotte officials vowed three years ago that things would change after a white police officer shot and killed a black man seeking help after he was injured in a car accident. There would be new training and community outreach aimed at preventing encounters from escalating into police gunfire. Change has been slow to come in Charlotte and across the nation since Jonathan Ferrell died in 2013, the Washington Post reports. Last week, a black police officer shot and killed another black man, Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, triggering massive, sometimes violent protests. Police officials acknowledged that the officer had recently been trained on ways to de-escalate tense encounters with citizens, but he had not yet received mandatory training aimed at rooting out racial, gender, and religious bias.
Protesters who thronged the streets of downtown Charlotte for five straight nights after Scott’s shooting said the lack of progress is palpable. Charlotte police, they say, continue to single out minorities and ignite rather than reduce tensions. “Here we are again. This man is dead, and the police haven’t changed a bit,” said Lonnie White, 32, an accountant who joined about a hundred people demonstrating outside police headquarters Friday for the release of police video, which was made public Saturday evening but does not show whether Scott was holding a gun. Intense nationwide scrutiny on whether police wield fatal force too quickly and too often has prompted many departments to step up training, but the pace of deadly shootings has not changed. So far this year, 708 people have been killed by police; nearly 1,000 civilians were killed in 2015, according to a Washington Post database.