Friday, November 17, 2017


Braxton Winston. Photo by Chuck Burton/AP
Braxton Winston is part of the wave of new, diverse talent taking public office for the first time after the recent round of elections. Winston just won a seat on the Charlotte City Council.

That's just the most recent chapter of his story. Winston was born in North Carolina into a military family, was recruited by Davidson College to play football, earned a degree in anthropology, coaches football part time at Providence Day School, and became an accidental but powerful symbol for Black Lives Matter in Charlotte following the September 20, 2016, police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. That killing prompted several days of street protests. A chance photograph of Winston by the Charlotte Observer’s Jeff Siner went viral (see below) and catapulted Winston into the fame that comes of courage. He's 33 years old.

Asked if Braxton Winston had been a student activist at Davidson College, his favorite anthropology professor said, “I’m not saying that Braxton wasn’t ‘woke’ during his college years, but he wasn’t in leadership in social justice.”

If you don't know what "woke" means, try this (and scroll down).

So on September 20, 2016, Winston was on his way home after coaching a middle school football game. He was driving Old Concord Road past the Village at College Downs apartments, where a ruction was going on. An angry crowd was gathering the way a crowd gathers after a shooting, and Winston pulled over to find out what it was.

Winston actually makes his living as a cameraman -- videographer -- who films home games for the Charlotte Hornets as an independent contractor. He began live-streaming the aftermath of the Keith Lamont Scott shooting to his Facebook page.

A Charlotte cop on the scene told Winston to leave. Winston didn't, and the cop left him alone. Perhaps because she/he already knew Winston as a good man from a previous incident. In November 2015, Winston called the cops to help a Hispanic woman being severely beaten by her husband. There was a big commotion, involving neighbors and a little boy running around crying. Winston grabbed up and hugged the boy to him. With his mother going to the hospital and his father to jail, the little boy didn’t want to leave Braxton's arms, "so Braxton went with us to the hospital. He stayed the whole night, trying to make sure the little boy was OK as he clung onto Braxton...” (according to CharlotteMeck PD Officer Shannon Finis).

About a year after that incident, one of the same cops who had seen Winston act heroically with the little boy encountered Winston again, at the Keith Lamont Scott shooting on Old Concord Road. The neighborhood was stirred up, the cops were getting questions they either couldn't answer or wouldn't, and more people were arriving by the minute. Braxton Winston had his iPhone camera. And what his camera saw woke him.

Student reporters for The Davidsonian, after several interviews, concluded this: "Winston had never been involved in any protest movement. He thought of tear-gas or potential injury as 'the price I got to pay to speak up on behalf of my children, [on] behalf of myself, and [on] behalf of what I believe in and what the world should look like.' ”

According to Olivia Daniels and AJ Naddaff, "tension between police and civilians escalated. Winston removed his shirt to cover his mouth from tear gas. He approached a line of police in riot gear and thrust his fist in the air in an act of civil disobedience." Jeff Siner took his picture.

Jeff Siner, Charlotte Observer

Read more here:

The very next night and still on the street, Winston’s video caught the sound of a pop and the sight of spattered blood -- the police shooting of protester Justin Carr.

Later, after things died down, Winston became a community spokesman, first calling for the resignation of CharlotteMeckPD Chief Kerr Putney and then meeting face-to-face with him and apparently reaching an understanding that there had to be a change in methods for interacting with segments of Charlotte that feel over-policed and under-served.

Read more here:
When eventually the police officer who killed Keith Lamont Scott was exonerated because department policy leans way over backward to absolve the government from responsibility when the police kill people without due process, Braxton Winston acknowledged that police followed policy in letting the cop off. But he intends to help review and rewrite that policy as a Charlotte City Councilman. Councilman Braxton Winston and Police Chief Kerr Putney are going to have an interesting journey together.

Forgot to mention that there was an interview with Winston worth hearing today on "Morning Edition."

Rad more here:


Parlier said...

Police didn't shoot Carr.

Anonymous said...

Don't upset JW's fantasies with facts.

Pixelshim said...

At least JW posts under his real name.