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Winston-Salem chronicle. (Winston-Salem, N.C.) 1974-current, September 10, 2015, Page A6, Image 6

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OPINION ^^THE CHflo*\eu 9>le>^ ( DECISION MoT ' To EETR 1 THE TOCkCHElSFim WEsiw WoWMPVE ONTbOTHER MPORW HPIK UVE W UPCOWGBKE W60VERIW. w itu - y LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Thanks for being a sponsor of Silent Witnesses 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 :ommitment to :he Winston Salem communi ty The Silent Witness you have sponsored is property of the Winston-Salem Police Department; towever, your lame, as the sponsor, will be perma lently affixed and on display hroughout numerous events in the iiture. 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 Winston-Salem Rountree Ministers meet 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 Justice RE: The decision not to retry Officer Randall Kerrick Dear Attorney General Cooper: 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 Ferrell. 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 involuntary manslaughter. 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 response. 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 too quickly. 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 Community: Mininster Corine Mack [Charlotte, NC) Rev. Rodney Sadler (Charlotte, NC) is hop JDwayne Walker Bishop Tonya Rawls (Charlotte, NC) Rev. Donnie R. Garris (Charlotte, NC) ? , Rev John Mendez (Winston Salem, NC) ^^Rev. Kojo Nantambu (Charlotte, ^Rev. Mike Broadway (Durham, _ Rev. Gregory K. Moss (Charlotte, ml) Paul Msiza (South Africa) VI Rev. Jimmy Hawkins (Durham, NC) Rev. Glencie Rhedrick (Charlotte, NC) VI Rev. Earl Johnson (Durham, NC) Rev. Dr. William J. Barber (NC JNAALrj Rev. Michelle Law^^^ We Welcome Your Feedback Submit letters and guest columns to let ters? wschronicle eom before 5 pm. Friday for the next week's publication date. Letters intended for publication should be addressed "Letters to the Editor" and include your name, address, phone number and email address. Please keep letters to 350 words or less. If you are writing a guest column, please include a photo of yourself, your name, address, phqne number and email address. Please keep guest columns to 550 words or less. Letters and columns can also be mailed or dropped off at W-S Chronicle, 617 N. Liberty St., W-S, NC, 27101; or sent via our website, www.wschronicle .com. \ We reserve the right to fun uriy tiem suummea jor clarity or brevity and determine when and whether material will be used. We welcome your comments at our website. Also, go to our Face book ? page to comment. We are at face book .com/WSChronicle. Send us a tweet on Twitter. We are at * < The Chronicle 617 N. Liberty Street .cjf 336-722-8624 * ! Q f/eara j Ernest H. Pitt publisher/co-founder Donna Rogers managing editor Elaine Pitt business manager Our Mission 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. Liberty Street Market went wrong from beginning 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? Maybe not. 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 gives them? 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. A -i

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