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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Thanks for being
a sponsor of
To the Editor:
The Winston-Salem - Police
Department has enjoyed a great part
nership with our business community
for many years and we are thankful
that you [The Chronicle] have chosen
to be an active participant in strength
ening our relationship. Your sponsor
ship of our Silent Witnesses is a testa
ment to your
Witness you have
property of the
lame, as the sponsor, will be perma
lently affixed and on display
hroughout numerous events in the
One hundred percent of the
noney you gave in sponsorship of a
Jilent Witness will be donated to
'amily Services of Forsyth County to
lelp provide resources to victims of
lomestic violence. I hope that some
>ne finds the help they need, some
>ne no longer has to deal with domes
ic violence and someone's life is
nade better because of people like
'ou who are willing to help.
Barry D. Rountree, MPA
Chief of Police
with Rot Cooper
)ver officer retrial,
3ut he still says no
To the Editor:
Today a group of clergy from
Charlotte and the Greater North
Carolina community, in partnership
/ith the N.C. NAACP, delivered the
ttached letter to Attorney General
toy Cooper [in Raleigh] to express
leir concerns regarding his decision
3 not retry Charlotte Mecklenburg
olice Officer Randall Kerrick in the
wrongful death of Johnathan Ferrell.
However, after a very impas
sioned conversation, the final deci
sion from the Attorney General
remains to not retry this case.
"In light of this decision, we are
still committed to pressing for a
retrial so that justice is done for the
Ferrell family and all citizens of
North Carolina" says Dr. Rodney
Sadler, associate professor of Bible
Union Presbyterian Seminary. This
coalition of clergy will reconvene
after this meeting to discuss next
steps and release further details in
the near future.
This is what was presented to
Attorney General Roy Cooper:
Friday, September 4,2015
North Carolina Attorney
General Roy Cooper
North Carolina Department of
RE: The decision not to retry
Officer Randall Kerrick
Dear Attorney General
Thank you for taking the time to
meet with us. We asked the N.C.
NAACP to join us. As members of
the Charlotte community, we wanted
to meet with you to discuss our con
cerns in relation to your decision to
not retry Officer Randall Kerrick for
the wrongful death of Jonathan
We understand that the city of
Charlotte settled with the family in
this case, but there is no amount of
money that can justify the fact that
Officer Kerrick used unreasonable
force to shoot and kill an unarmed
man. Testimony from this case has
shown that Kerrick violated police
department policies and because of
his actions, he was charged with
We also understand that the jury
was hung, by an 8 to 4 vote, that
they were unable to pronounce a ver
dict and as a result, the court was
forced to declare a mistrial.
However, what we do not understand
is why you feel that to retry this case
would not yield a different result
when our community believes and
the law dictates that a retrial is in
order. Yes, the jury in the first trial
was unable to speak in one voice,
but such a hung jury has not spoken
for the Charlotte Community or the
people of North Carolina. The loss
of human life and the heartbreak of a
family require a more just and wise
In the state of North Carolina
where African-Americans have a
long history of being wrongfully
convicted of murder and other
crimes, we now see a case of the
same legal system refusing to prop
erly try an officer of the law for
killing an unarmed black college stu
dent. We contend that your decision
not to retry this case was made much
We are concerned that the dash
cam video was not put into proper
perspective given our long experi
ence with the racial stereotypes that
young black men are a lethal danger
to a society that is too often justified
in taking his life for its own alleged
protection. This standard is far too
subjective and it results in a call for
retrial that has become habitual.
We are also concerned that little
to no weight was placed on the fact
that the city settled the case with the
family based on research that these
type actions by the Charlotte
Mecklenburg Police Department,
although reported, were never inves
tigated by external forces.
Finally, we are concerned that
your quick decision not to submit the
evidence of this case to a new jury
sets a dangerous precedent that lends
itself to continued issues of inequali
ty in the criminal justice system.
In light of this history and our
concerns, we call for you to recon
sider and retry this case for the sake
of this family and this community,
and in the name of justice. We
believe the decision not to do so is
unconscionable. Too many times, too
many mothers and wives have buried
their sons and husbands.
Concerned Clergy of Charlotte
and the greater North Carolina
Mininster Corine Mack
Rev. Rodney Sadler (Charlotte,
is hop JDwayne Walker
Bishop Tonya Rawls (Charlotte,
Rev. Donnie R. Garris
? , Rev John Mendez (Winston
^^Rev. Kojo Nantambu (Charlotte,
^Rev. Mike Broadway (Durham,
_ Rev. Gregory K. Moss
Paul Msiza (South Africa)
VI Rev. Jimmy Hawkins (Durham,
Rev. Glencie Rhedrick
VI Rev. Earl Johnson (Durham,
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber (NC
Rev. Michelle Law^^^
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The Chronicle is dedicated to serving the
residents of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County
by giving voice to the voiceless, speaking truth
to power, standing for integrity and
encouraging open communication and
lively debate throughout the community.
In mid-October of last year, excitement was in the
air. Liberty Street Market, 1591 N. Liberty St.,
opened to the public with a ribbon cutting and
remarks from city and community leaders. '
A dozen vendors were at the Liberty Street ,
Market on opening day. Vendors offered an array of (
items, from fresh produce and baked sweets to
African art and blue jeans. j
Eleven months later, no vendors are there.
What happened to Liberty Street Market? It could (
be that the business venture was handled all wrong.
Liberty Street Market was among several con- J
cerns voiced at a barbershop community meeting
that Council Member Derwin Montgomery held in ?
the East Ward.
Several community members pointed to what
they saw as the problem with the market. There is a !
rniHo oy ioaa luck v
Liberty Market t
fence around it. "They want to keep us out," one per- 1
son said. Others agreed. But wasn't the Liberty
Street Market there to help the residents of the area?
In the usual process of opening a business, a site
is identified and a market feasibility study is done.
The numerous businesses that have been announcing ,
their intentions to open in the South and Southwest
wards and in downtown recently no doubt can put
their hands on the market feasibility studies for their }
businesses. The market feasibility study looks at the
market for the goods and services the businesses are /
trying to sell to determine if there are enough people
with money in the particular area who would be will- 1
ing to buy from them. Is there a market feasibility '
study for the Liberty Street Market?
The Chronicle reported in October that Mayor
Pro Tempore Vivian Burke held a copy of the Liberty
Street Corridor feasibility study done in 1996 as she
made her remarks at the Liberty Street Market cere
mony. Burke, the longtime Northeast Ward City C
Council member, represents one part of Liberty C
Street; Montgomery represents the other. v
1996 is almost 20 years ago. No successful busi- a
ness would open in the 21 st century using a 20-year- F
old market feasibility study. tl
A current market feasibility study for Liberty t<
Street Market should have told the city of Winston- P
Salem something about the people who live in the v
area and their willingness to support the market with
their cash. Has anyone asked the residents what they
wanted? Did anyone find out whether the communi
ty would financially support the market? Residents
who spoke with Montgomery earlier this year said no
one asked them if they wanted Liberty Street Market
in their neighborhood. No one apparently did a cur
rent market feasibility study. Is this because mostly
black people live in the area, so it doesn't matter
what they want; they'll just have to take what the city
Liberty Street Market sits on a site that was dilap
idated. It was an eyesore. It looks nice now, with two
large covered shelters and with parking spaces for
customers. Except there are no customers. There are
no vendors. Only a reminder of what should have
been: The city should have asked the residents if they
wanted Liberty Street Market. All the savvy busi
nesspeople ask before they build.
So now, the city is at a loss as to what to do with
Liberty Street Market. Here's an idea: Ask the resi
dents what they want.