"Speak Out" is an expression of opinion from the Editorial Board of WBTV, and is presented by editorial board member, Jess Sessoms.
It’s been a long road from the night Jonathan Ferrell was gunned down by Charlotte police officer Randall “Wes” Kerrick.
From the start, the facts surrounding the events of that night have puzzled us.
And they puzzled a Charlotte jury to the point that they couldn’t reach a verdict.
Eight jurors voted to acquit, four to convict.
There were worries of what a verdict would do to the city.
Would we see violent unrest the likes of Ferguson and Baltimore?
There were protests. People voiced their anger at a system they felt had failed them.
In all but a few instances, though, the protestors never crossed the line into violent rebellion.
So, who do we have to thank for this relative calm?
Let’s start with a group called “the Cops and the Barbers,” who hosted a series of events
to create a dialogue between the black community and the CMPD.
They listened to one another.
The leaders of Charlotte’s church community urged protestors to be peaceful.
And Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers also deserve praise.
They held a soft line against the protestors… held their tempers in check in the face of taunting and abuse.
The charges have now officially been dismissed.
And in the court of public opinion, it appears the jury is also hopelessly deadlocked.
But we must move forward, and pray that there never is a next time.