GASTONIA, NC (WBTV) - Civil activists are calling for the firing of a Gastonia police officer just one day after the district attorney in Gaston county made the decision to not charge Officer Stephen Whisnant, after he shot an innocent woman in the chest back in July.
Standing right in front of a Martin Luther King statue, civil activist John Barnett believes race was a factor for how things played out during the Gastonia officer involved shooting back in July.
“I’m upset and appalled at the fact that Gastonia has not charged this officer,” said Barnett.
Gastonia police Officer Stephen Whisnant has been on paid administrative after shooting Brittany Lynn. Even though district attorney Locke Bell won’t be charging him, Whisnant will continue to be on paid leave until the police department wraps up its own internal investigation.
“We got a rotten apple in the apple basket and the only way to save the other apples is to get rid of the rotten apple,“ Barnett continued.
Barnett feels like folks in Gastonia already have poor relationships with officers and says the only way to try and build that trust is to be more transparent.
“Release that body cam. Why? We need that particular body cam to be released because it will resolve tension, frustration and it will also resolve individuals who have second thoughts about this particular case,” stated Barnett.
According to a statement sent out by city officials, police will not release any video as its now part of an ongoing criminal investigation involving Jarvis Lynn. I spoke to Jarvis exclusively just days after the shooting, he told me he never fired a gun at officers who were surrounding his house, but admitted that he tried to avoid police because he had outstanding warrants for assault.
“I never even had a weapon in my hand,” Jarvis Lynn told WBTV’s Bria Bell in that exclusive interview.
Brittany has hired an attorney and plans on filing a civil suit against the police department for what’s happened.
Brittany’s attorney, Charles Everage, told WBTV’s Bria Bell over the phone that this is a messy and unfortunate situation.
He also said city leaders, the Gastonia police chief and the DA’s office have reached out to them to check up on Brittany as she continues to heal.