In Charlotte, North Carolina emergency has been imposed due to the violence spreading in the city after the strong reaction of the local people when a black man Keith Lamont Scott was killed by the local police on the suspicion that he was armed with fire arms and was not ready to disarm even after the callings by the police. The second day has also seen violence and protests with slogans ‘Black lives matter’,’ No justice, no peace’ and ‘End State-Sanctioned Murder’ . The state Rep. Kelly Alexander Jr has said that last 24 hours of violent protest are the worst which he had ever seen in Charlotte, he also demanded that police should release the dashboard-camera video of Scott’s killing. The authorities have decided to put the National Guard and state troopers to control the raging violence. As the city is under grip of the violent activities and the residents seem to have lost trust on the authorities, a critical development in the country where leaders since long have emphasized that police actions on the black people need to be moderated. Charlotte shooting shows that much has not changed yet in America.
The people have come on the streets in groups to protest against the police killing of Scott and the violence has erupted. The alarming point is that like several developing countries, black people in the city have lost their faith in the police system.
The police says that Scott was armed with gun and pointed it towards the police (though police is still not clear whether it was pointed towards the officer) but this contention has been disputed by the local black people who say that he had come to school bus stop to have his son dropped and he possessed only a book in his hand.
The civil society organizations have treated the incident as a question of survival of the black community. The local newspaper The Charlotte Observer has highlighted the anger which has now taken unprecedented turn as the local people and CSO are trying to link it to economic aspect of existence. ‘Nation of Islam representative B.J. Murphy called for an economic boycott by African-Americans in Charlotte. Since black lives don’t matter for this city, then our black dollars shouldn’t matter. It is affecting the psyche of black people and that’s what you saw last night. Keep your money in your pocket and let everybody feel the pain, economically, of what we’re feeling physically when you kill us, Murphy said, I say, take your money out of Northlake Mall. Take your money out of South Park mall (and) How are you going to have a party, have a drink in your hand, if we don’t get no damn justice.’ Such statements are not simple rhetoric; these are in fact the deep anger, frustrations and feeling of isolation with deprivation at the justice delivery system.
The police is artificial structure of the modern state system which is usually highly suppressive with no considerations for the human rights. In the name of the maintenance of law and order often commit the acts of criminal nature. For this reason the Great philosophers and activists as Mahatma Gandhi and Karl Marx voiced their opposition to this fault based structures, Gandhi talked it in terms of anarchist values and Marx looked it as an instrument of the bourgeoisie class. Now time has come to reflect on the ideas of these people and overhaul of the police system should be initiated not only in developing countries like India but also in the developed modern states as USA where police have killed not the blacks but the hopes and aspirations of innumerable number of people who reside in the country.
Dr Vivek Kumar Srivastava is the Vice-Chairman, CSSP, Kanpur and a Consultant, CRIEPS.