After instating a city-wide curfew during Thursday night’s demonstrations in Charlotte—which were largely peaceful in contrast to the violence of the night before—Roberts began the process of mending relations between city officials and discontented crowds. She compensated for a lack of empathy in Governor Pat McCrory’s address on Wednesday, during which he failed to even acknowledge the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott and instead focused on punitive consequences for demonstrators.
“I was out on the streets last night, listening to folks who were there and was grateful to see people voicing their opinions peacefully,” Roberts told reporters on Friday morning. “I was also encouraged to see acts of gratitude and acts of positive personal interaction between demonstrators and our men and women in uniform.... Last night was what a lawful demonstration looks like.”
Roberts’s words aren’t empty—she’s been working for a long time to close the racial, socio-economic and education gaps in Charlotte that contribute to many of the city’s tensions. Moreover, she has joined in protesters calls to release the dashcam video of Scott’s death to key members of the community, such as the chair of the NAACP, for evaluation.
Charlotte police chief Kerr Putney also sought to diffuse anger, claiming during the press conference that he did not want to be the “aggressive party, creating a sense of disorder”—rather, he wanted officers to help “deescalate” tensions. He warned, however, that releasing footage of Scott’s death would do no such thing.