Police Brutality

Collins sits at a table under a George Floyd mural that reads "George Floyd Rest in Power."
Courtesy of Armando Collins

For Armondo Collins, growing up in a predominantly-black neighborhood in St. Paul, Minnesota meant several things. It meant that he had to pass through majority white, wealthy communities whenever he wanted candy from the corner store. And it meant that he got stopped by the police a lot. 

Jade Wilson

Jaki Shelton Green joins us on her birthday to discuss “the wind of freedom” which billows through the North Carolina poet laureate’s new album of verse and song, “The River Speaks of Thirst” (Soul City Sounds/2020). 

A public memorial for George Floyd takes place Saturday, June 6 at Cape Fear Conference B Headquarters of the United American Free Will Baptist Denomination in Raeford, N.C.
Kate Medley / For WUNC

An estimated 10,000 mourners gathered in Raeford, N.C. to pay their final respects to George Floyd. It was the second of three memorials across the country to commorate his death. 

Pallbearers bring the body of George Floyd into Cape Fear Conference B Headquarters of the United American Free Will Baptist Denomination in Raeford, N.C. for a public viewing and private memorial on Saturday, June 6.
Kate Medley / For WUNC

Updated at 9 p.m. ET

A line of mourners wrapped around a Raeford, N.C. church and extended down the highway Saturday, as thousands paid their last respects to George Floyd. 

(AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)

Do looting and property damage subvert the movement against police violence? Or do rubber bullets in response to material destruction expose law enforcement’s prioritization of private property over human life? 

Courtesy of Jooselord

Inciting riots is his God-given gift, the Durham rapper admits. Jooselord does it regularly on stage and his upcoming release — “MoshPit Messiah” —  is a testament to that skill. So it was a surprise to some of Jooselord’s fans when he maintained peace at protests over the past week in Raleigh and Durham.

Alex Brandon / AP Photo

Active-duty troops brought in to help if needed with the civil unrest in the nation's capitol are beginning to return to their home base, after two days of more peaceful demonstrations in Washington, D.C., senior defense officials told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

University students sit in a classroom
Tulane Public Relations

In 2016, a 43-year-old black man named Keith Lamont Scott was shot by police about a mile away from the main campus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The shooting sparked demonstrations in the student body, but the administration was slow to respond. 
 

Courtesy of Chris Suggs

As protests against police brutality, harassment and discrimination continue across the state, community leaders and citizens are taking time to reflect on their own experiences with law enforcement and the country’s long history of racial disparity in policing. 

Line of police officers in riot gear face a line of kneeling protesters.
Jason deBruyn/WUNC

For the last three nights, people in communities around North Carolina raised their voices and demonstrated against police brutality against black people. The death of George Floyd sparked these protests in the Tar Heel state and around the country.

A bus stop is covered with signs, posters and flowers in remembrance of George Floyd, who died in police custody.
Creative Commons

As of June 2, The Washington Post reports on-duty police officers have shot and killed 422 people in 2020 — on par with the average number of fatal police shootings in the U.S. despite the way the coronavirus pandemic has changed or slowed down everyday life. 

Mugshot of Chauvin.
Courtesy of Ramsey County Sheriff's Office via AP

On Memorial Day, former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin put his knee on George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, leaving it there after Floyd lost consciousness and became unresponsive. 

Credit: Raleigh Police Department

The Raleigh Police Department released body camera footage on Wednesday evening of an officer’s non-fatal shooting of Javier Torres. A judge authorized the release of the body and dash camera footage of the incident earlier on Wednesday.

Cummings headshot.
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

In a time of great political upheaval, the country has lost a formidable force. Maryland Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings passed away last week at the age of 68.

White polie officer Chris Hickman sits during his trial.
Angela Wilhelm/Asheville Citizen Times

Earlier this month former Asheville police officer Christopher Hickman pled guilty to felony assault in the 2017 case involving black pedestrian Johnny Rush. Hickman was charged in March 2018 after footage of him choking and violently beating Rush was leaked to the media. Now, Hickman could see his charges dismissed after one year if he follows through on a first-of-its-kind restorative justice program.

Asheville Police Department
Asheville Police Department / Twitter

A white former North Carolina police officer pleaded guilty Friday to beating a black pedestrian in a case that sparked outrage after graphic video of the violent 2017 encounter surfaced.

America’s Identity Crisis Over Torture

Oct 23, 2018
Flickr/Creative Commons

Liberal democracies like the United States agree that the use of torture is abborhent, distasteful and wrong. Our very identity rests on the understanding that we uphold human rights and do not engage in the cruel savagery of older or other governments. And yet the use of torture in this country, and the ways in which those in power have justified it, goes back as far as our founding. 

Courtesy of Frank R. Baumgartner / Cambridge University Press

20 million people are pulled over annually in traffic stops throughout the United States, according to The Stanford Open Policing Project. New data shows a disproportionate number of those motorists in North Carolina are black. The findings come from a comprehensive analysis of every traffic stop in the state from 2002 to 2016. 

photo of Hinton. he has a black eye and other abrasions.
City County Bureau of Identification

A Wake County grand jury handed up felony assault indictments this week for Cameron Broadwell, a Wake County sheriff’s deputy and North Carolina State Highway Patrol troopers Michael G. Blake and Tabitha Davis. The three are accused with violently beating and injuring Kyron Dwain Hinton, a Raleigh resident who was homeless at the time of the incident. Hinton was approached by law enforcement on April 3 in East Raleigh, and what happened next landed him in the hospital for three days with injuries that included a fractured eye socket, broken nose and 20 dog bites.

This video shows a white police officer choking a young tuxedo-clad man who is African American, pushing him against a storefront and then slamming him to the ground outside a North Carolina Waffle House.
Anthony Wall via Facebook / Screenshot by NPR

Waffle House has become embroiled in a new public scandal, and African-American activists are calling for a boycott. Early this week, a video went viral of 22-year-old Anthony Wall getting choked by a police officer outside of a Waffle House in Warsaw, North Carolina.

photo of tammy hooper in the blue ridge public radio station
Amanda Magnus

In late February, leaked bodycam footage of a white Asheville police officer beating a black pedestrian went viral, and the city is still reeling. The footage captured an incident that took place Aug. 24, 2017 when former Asheville Police Officer Chris Hickman confronted city resident Johnnie Jermaine Rush over alleged jaywalking and trespassing. Footage shows Hickman beat, choked, punched and stunned Rush.

photo of Chris Hickman conversing with other officers, johnnie rush is handcuffed in the background
City of Asheville

Asheville resident Johnnie Jermaine Rush was walking home from work on Aug. 24, 2017 when he was stopped by police for jaywalking. Rush felt he was being harassed and ran away to avoid arrest. Bodycam video of the incident was leaked to the Asheville Citizen Times in February 2018, and it went viral. 

The Asheville Police Department badge.
Courtesy of APD

North Carolina Rep. Duane Hall (D-Wake) was met with harsh criticism from other Democratic lawmakers, including Gov. Roy Cooper, when he refused to step down amid claims of sexual harassment by multiple women.

Image of young black kids in Chicago with a police officer.
Patricia Evans

In the mid ‘90s, writer Jamie Kalven became immersed in Stateway Gardens, an impoverished and embattled public housing community on the South Side of Chicago.

Rohan Ayinde

North Carolina is one of only two states in the US where 16 and 17 years old kids are routinely charged as adults for even the most minor offenses. This policy has serious consequences for the youth involved. In this bonus podcast episode, poet Kane Smego shares a gripping poem called, “Oh Carolina”  about justice and conflict in North Carolina. 

Download the Bonus Episode Now

Photo from Playmakers production of 'Detroit 67'
Jon Gardiner

Tensions between police and civilians are on the minds of many after last week’s shootings and protests in Charlotte. But a play on stage at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Playmakers Repertory Company makes it clear that these tensions are not new. “Detroit ‘67” tells the fictional story of a brother and sister working to stay afloat as their city faces increased economic and racial turmoil. The story is punctuated with music from the booming Motown music scene.

Colette Heiser

CJ Suitt is a young black poet living in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. And he has a simple and frightening question, "Would I be shot if I called the police?"

CJ uses his poetry to combat stereotypes and to build bridges of understanding. But he admits, in the wake of yet another series of high profile killings of black men by the police, something has changed. CJ no longer feels safe walking at night.

Photo of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James speaking at the ESPY Awards.
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

In the past two weeks, violence by and against police has dominated headlines and rattled the country. Protests from movements like #BlackLivesMatter continue while celebrities use speeches and social media as a platform to make their voices heard.

Meanwhile, the ESPN documentary series "O.J.: Made In America" looks at race relations since the 1960s through the life of former athlete O.J. Simpson.

photo of Keith Knight
Keith Knight

Knight was recently on The State of Things in advance of his appearance at the Durham Comics Fest.

Keith Knight has considered himself a cartoonist since he was in diapers, doodling on the walls of his family home near Boston.

While that spirit of creativity has not changed, the content of Keith's work has taken on more profound issues. Keith is known for drawing a weekly political cartoon called "(Th)ink" that often provides commentary on police brutality, racial profiling, and the black experience in America.

Photo of a police officer following the Dallas shooting
AP Photo/LM Otero

Five law enforcement officers were killed last night in Dallas. The murders happened at a protest in response to the killing of two black men this week by law enforcement officers.

On Tuesday, police shot and killed Alton Sterling while they held him down at a convenience store in Baton Rouge, La.

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