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Scott's death led to continued protests in Charlotte, N.C., and around the country. [Mike Blake / Reuters]
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Scott’s death led to continued protests in Charlotte, N.C., and around the country.
[Mike Blake / Reuters]

Keith Lamont Scott, 43, a father of seven children with a wife of 20 years, suffering from cognitive impairment from a motorcycle accident, has lost his life at the hands of Charlotte Police, who claim he had a gun. In the face of massive street protests and social media condemnation, the police over the weekend tried to justify their use of extreme violence by claiming Scott was “in possession of marijuana.”

Chief Kerr Putney of the Charlotte-Mecklenberg Police at a Friday news conference [Sean Rayford / Getty]
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Chief Kerr Putney of the Charlotte-Mecklenberg Police at a Friday news conference
[Sean Rayford / Getty]

Charlotte Police Chief Kerr Putney, at a Saturday press conference, claimed the cops originally approached Scott because he was in possession of marijuana, reports Morgan Baskin at Complex.com. Chief Putney claims the situation “escalated” when police allegedly saw Scott had a gun.

When asked if any officers at all would be charged in Scott’s grisly shooting, Putney said he would “absolutely not” charge any officers, though he admitted there is no “definitive visual evidence that [Scott] had a gun in his hand and that he pointed it at an officer.”

Putney, apparently invoking Reefer Madness fears of “black men on drugs,” claimed Scott presented a “safety issue” by possessing both cannabis and a firearm. Oddly, the Charlotte Police Department on Saturday evening deleted all its Twitter posts related to the press conference and referencing the footage.

Footage released on Friday, filmed by Scott’s wife, shows cops around Scott’s lifeless body on the pavement after he was shot. That footage didn’t show the shooting itself. Scott’s death sparked days of ongoing protests in Charlotte against police brutality and racism.

“I have pointed out again and again, really to the point of exhaustion and despair (so much so that I could barely bring myself to write about this another time), that even though the national debate is evolving about marijuana use and drug policy, police departments seem to be stuck a hundred years ago, when ‘cocaine-crazed Negroes’ and Mexican ‘reefer madness’ were the order of the day,” wrote Sharda Sekaran, managing director of communications at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), on Tuesday.

Sharda Sekaran, Drug Policy Alliance: "Quote" [Anthony Papa / YouTube]
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Sharda Sekaran, Drug Policy Alliance:
“It is disturbing and extreme and should be making all of us sick to our stomachs”
[Anthony Papa / YouTube]

“The fact that police continue to reference drugs as a contributing factor in their decisions to execute people (as was done just last week in the case of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma), means they are either really misinformed about drug use and public safety (scary) or blatantly using drugs to cover their asses when they behave in racist ways, abuse their power and kill someone (even scarier),” Sekaran wrote.

“It is disturbing and extreme and should be making all of us sick to our stomachs,” Sekaran wrote. “Marijuana is a substance that has been used by half of Americans, is cheerfully enjoyed throughout pop culture, and in several states is a burgeoning legal commodity. But apparently, if you’re black in North Carolina, marijuana possession is also just cause for public execution.”

 

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