This week, deputies in my hometown of Elizabeth City, NC shot and killed Andrew Brown Jr. This comes hot on the heels of the guilty verdict against Derek Chauvin, and the same day as the police shooting of a teenage girl, Ma’Khia Bryant, in Columbus, Ohio.
The first thing I want you to understand is that Elizabeth City is not a large place. Pasquotank County, which the city sits inside of, has a population of about 40k people. The municipality of Elizabeth City has less than half of that, at ~19k people.
That’s right — some of you have more followers than we have citizens!
Despite having a degree in Political Science from an HBCU, I have kept myself out of the current discussion on equality/diversity as much as possible. It’s not that I don’t feel obligated to contribute, and not that I don’t find my contribution meaningful, but more that I haven’t even fully articulated my own message — much less one intended to save the world from itself.
Still, that obligation to contribute can be heavy.
Especially when the world barges into your backyard.
The Day Of — Wednesday, April 21, 2021
My wife and I caught a live feed on Facebook that started immediately after the shooting and carried on throughout that first day. It was shared from friend-to-friend and we watched the viewer count rise from below 100 to the thousands, as the day went on.
The big questions we all had that first day are still hanging out there, unfortunately. Namely…
Was he running away, and shot in the back?
Protests formed that first night and were present, but word hadn’t spread fully. As the day went on, comments flooded the live stream.
Some were speculations worded as fact; unintentional seeds of gossip. This should be expected, I think, given the lack of reliable information.
Other people mixed up the incident with news of the 16-year-old girl in Columbus, thinking that she was part of this tragedy here, in Elizabeth City.
But a couple of things bubbled up to the surface, like they often do.