When Charlotte erupted in violent protests last week over Keith Lamont Scott’s death, some city officials and residents were surprised by people’s fury. That anger was on display two months earlier, at what first seemed like a routine City Council meeting but was a possible warning sign of escalating tension, reports the Charlotte Observer. Many who signed up to speak at the July 25 citizen’s forum talked about police accountability and the Black Lives Matter movement. The tone was angry, and Mayor Jennifer Roberts and council members were heckled and shouted down.
Through other controversies, citizens hadn’t repeatedly heckled the city’s leaders. “I remember right before I spoke, I had a foreboding that things were going to get very, very heavy in our community if we didn’t take some drastic measures to turn it around,” said Theresa McCormick-Dunlop, a social worker who spoke at the July 25 meeting and again at Monday night’s council meeting, when citizens berated Roberts and council members for more than two hours over Scott’s death. At the July meeting, Black Lives Matter speakers were upset by Roberts’ decision to use part of the citizens forum to discuss the city’s plans to build more bike lanes. Even after Roberts apologized and gave Black Lives Matter speakers more time, the heckling continued.