Girl, 9, Tearfully Appeals for Peace Following Fatal Police Shooting: 'I Can't Stand How We're Treated'
A little girl brought a Charlotte city council meeting to its knees with her emotional plea amid unrest in the area that followed the fatal shooting of a black man by police.
"It's a shame that our fathers and mothers are killed and we can't see them anymore," Zianna Oliphant told City Council members at the meeting Monday. "It's a shame that we have to go through that graveyard and bury them. We need our fathers and mothers to be by our side."
The little girl stood on a stool as she addressed the group, sobbing as she spoke.
"I’ve been born and raised in Charlotte. And I never felt this way till now and I can’t stand how we’re treated," she said. "We are black people and we shouldn’t have to feel like this. We shouldn’t have to protest because y’all are treating us wrong. We do this because we need to and have rights."
Zianna was one of several children who showed up with their parents at the meeting, where councilmembers sat for hours as residents demanded change in the wake of Kevin Lamont Scott's September 21 death.
Another child, an area boy, also spoke.
"I've come here to let you know how I feel," said the boy. "Our black fathers shouldn't have to be buried and our black children shouldn't have to go to the graveyard to bury our fathers...We need to stop racism, we need to be equal. The black community and us black people need to come together to fight for our rights."
Another boy, who spoke earlier, told council members: "The reason why I'm here is to protect the black community... Every day when I wake up, I'm scared that I won't grow up to be a black man. I'm here to protest for my kind. I hope that black people don't go extinct."
Scott was reportedly inside a car near a Charlotte apartment complex when police responded to a call about a suspect there. Scott was not the suspect, but officers say they saw him get out of the car holding a gun.
Cops say he got back in the car then came out again while still holding the gun. It was then that officers deemed him a threat and Scott was killed, according to the Associated Press.
The Charlotte mayor's office identified the officer who killed Scott as Brentley Vinson, who is black.
Members of Scott's family and his community have dismissed the police account that Scott had a gun.
Some of the citizen speakers called on Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, Police Chief Kerr Putney and other council members to resign as protests entered their second week.