My name is Glo. And in September of 2016, I participated in the Charlotte Uprising–a protest organized in response to the police murder of Keith Lamont Scott. Hundreds of Charlotte residents and community members took to the streets to ask for transparency from our police department and to demand justice for Keith Lamont Scott. The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) responded to the public outcry with tear gas, percussion grenades, and SWAT teams–this brutality went on for 96 hours. On the second night of the uprising I witnessed the killing of fellow protester, 26-year-old Justin Carr, by CMPD. The police claimed that another protester shot Carr–Rayquan Borum.1 However, Rayquan did not kill Justin Carr–I was there. Nonetheless, Rayquan is now being accused by CMPD for the murder of Justin Carr. Rayquan has been in jail since September 2016, with no option of bail. But the truth is: Charlotte Mecklenburg police killed Justin Carr, not Rayquan.2
Within days of me sharing news to the world that CMPD murdered Justin Carr, $20,000 in felony warrants were put out for my arrest. I am being charged with felony charges for inciting a riot and misdemeanor assault on a government officer. These are completely trumped up charges, fabricated by law enforcement to discourage me from telling the truth. My trial court date is set for May 7th, 2018, and I am facing four years in prison. Together, we must take a stand to ensure that everyone, including Black people, are guaranteed the fundamental and constitutional right to protest and speak freely.
There is hope that my charges could be dropped, because the DA who filed these charges against me is no longer in office. And the current DA has been silent on my case. By staying silent on our cases DA Merriweather is making it clear that he doesn’t stand against police murder or political repression of activists, specifically Black activists. However, by dropping our charges he could start to change the way the criminal justice system works in Charlotte and become a DA who truly stands up for justice.
My experience is a part of a larger and more frightening issue within the criminal justice system. Protesters and activists are finding themselves profiled and targeted for speaking out against the true conditions of our nation. By prosecuting Rayquan and myself, the district attorney’s office is sending a loud and clear message to all Black people in Charlotte–prosecutors will never hold the police accountable when they murder Black people. And, if you speak out about these injustices, you can and will be prosecuted.
Rayquan’s trial date has been set for December 3, 2018, by that time he will have sat in a jail cell for over two years, with no trial, before his case is even heard.3 Our cases are uniquely connected because I witnessed the Charlotte police commit the very murder he is behind bars for. Rayquan is innocent, and has maintained his innocence the entire time he’s been held in prison. While in prison, Rayquan has been greatly mistreated, spending significant time in solitary confinement. We know how solitary confinement plays out for human beings. They deteriorate.
What is happening to myself and Rayquan Borum are not mere coincidences, we are being targeted by the Charlotte Police and the District Attorney. We are being used to send a message to deter protesters, specifically Black protestors.
However, we will continue to resist and fight for our freedom and that of all Black people. In order to do that we need your support–demand that DA Merriweather immediately free Rayquan Borum and drop all charges against me.
Until we’re all free,
Charlotte Uprising Activist
1. “Uprising activists: Charlotte mayor, police chief should resign”. The Charlotte Observer, 26 September 2016. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/30810?t=9&akid=10489%2E1174326%2E_f8XlE
2. “Eyewitness to Carr Shooting in Charlotte, NC:’Riot Police Shot Him…They’re Fabricating All of This'”. The Root, 23 September 2016. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/30811?t=11&akid=10489%2E1174326%2E_f8XlE
3. “Murder Defendant Rayquan Borum Gets New Attorneys”. Charlotte NPR, 10 January 2018. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/30812?t=13&akid=10489%2E1174326%2E_f8XlE