CHARLOTTE, N.C. ― When Rakeyia Scott saw cops surrounding her husband, Keith Scott, she immediately worried they might shoot him. She pulled out her cell phone camera.
The horrifying video she captured has now been seen millions of times. One poignant moment, however, stands out.
As officers huddle around her dying husband, she shouts out: “Did y’all call the police?”
Call the police. It’s what one does, or is supposed to do, when a crime has been committed, when someone is in need of help. The idea that the police exist to protect and serve is so powerful that it broke through the reality of what she had just witnessed: police shooting her husband to death.
She quickly caught her mistake. “I mean, did y’all call the ambulance?”
Given the nonchalant attitude officers betrayed as Keith Scott lay on the pavement bleeding, she didn’t wait for an answer and took it upon herself to call 911.
The reaction of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg officers to a man dying at their feet was strikingly familiar. The ubiquity of cellphone, dashcam and surveillance video has transformed the way the public understands police violence. But as scene after scene unfolds on shaky screens and in grainy contours, another element of the violence is beginning to come into focus: the pattern of officers seeming to show no concern for the person they have shot, often fatally.
The nonchalance around the injured and the dying is stunning in its own way.
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