Root Issues Persist as Scott Shooting Anniversary Approaches

CHARLOTTE, NC — A powder keg ready to blow. All it took was something to light the fuse.

The anger and frustration that led to protests and riots in Uptown after the Keith Scott shooting had been simmering, beneath Charlotte’s surface, for years.

As the city approaches the one-year anniversary, the discussions on race, equality and opportunity in Charlotte continue.

“You’ve got to be able to talk about things, but it can’t stop there,” says James Ford with the Leading On Opportunity Council. “You can’t talk until you’re blue in the face. You’ve got to do something.”

Talk leading to action is the goal. But there are still many miles to go one year after the officer-involved shooting of Keith Scott, and the protests and riots that followed in Charlotte.

Dr. Susan McCarter, Associate Professor of Social Work at UNC Charlotte, says the underlying roots causes of the angst in our city have yet to be resolved.

“We need to continue that conversation until we begin to address those root causes, including racism,” adds McCarter.

McCarter was on a panel discussing the impact of the Scott shooting and the path forward for the city.

Ford was also on that panel, and says that while many people talk about the protests and riots not representing the Charlotte they know and love, for others it was an expression of their Charlotte, their reality.

“The angst that you saw in the uprising was people clamoring to finally express their outrage over a really inequal system,” continues Ford.

“That shooting simply became a flash point for something that’s been building up in this community, and communities like our across the country, for decades,” adds Willie Ratchford, Executive Director of Community Relations for the City of Charlotte.

In many ways the events of a year ago were a window into the social inequalities of Charlotte; a universal need for safety and economic stability.

“I want to have a good job, so I can pay my taxes,” says Ratchford of the needs in many Charlotte communities. “Take care of my children. Put them through college. It all just connects.”

“Once you saw Bank of America close down for a day, people really, when their pocket books were affected, they had some skin in the game,” says Dr. McCarter.

The City of Charlotte is launching a website that will focus on changes the city is making to address the issues that led to the events of last year.

A judge ordered Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police to release surveillance footage this week that was taken during the protests and riots in Uptown last September.