Scott Teamer: Report did Livingstone a disservice

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 10, 2015

By Scott Teamer

Special to the Salisbury Post

On behalf of the Salisbury-Rowan Chapter of the NAACP, I respectfully submit this formal request for a retraction of statement and an immediate explanation for the lack of investigation that led to Livingstone College being wrongfully associated and referenced in news articles converning the four men arrested following the lockdown at Catawba College.

Numerous news and social media articles reported that the four arrested were not associated with Catawba College. The reports indicate that the defendants identified themselves as Livingstone College students. Is it necessary to release how a defendant identifes themselves if there is not a relevant affiliation? Furthermore, after this informatio was proven false, shouldn’t the chief and/or media take approrpiate actions to remedy this inaccuracy?

As a result of this situation, I have many questions. Why wasn’t the same care and consideration that was extended Catawba College taken to protect the name of Livingstone College? We applaud the swift response of the city police in investigating criminal activity at Catawba College but are wondering about the response in solving crimes in the black community. Has the same attention been given to the 11 unsolved murders in our community?

Specifically, there seems to be a lack of concern for the safety of students at Livingstone College, which is right down the street from Catawba. Why wasn’t the police chief at Livingstone College contacted to verify the identity of the perpetrators? Why wasn’t the Livingstone College police department alerted to lock down their campus?

As the president of the NAACP, I believe that this is another example of racial discrimination and disrespect of Livingstone College, the 100-plus-year-old historically black college that has been educating African American students without pause since 1879. Therefore, no city official to include the police of Salisbury should allow anyone to associate themselves with an organization without proper verification.

Please offer an immediate response, as the NAACP is in full support of Livingstone College and we are willing to take the appropriate steps to protect its studens’ safety and the reputation of the college. Fairness in crime investigation and reporting is a simple task; honesty and transparency are owed to the citizens of this city and the NAACP will accept nothing less.

Scott Teamer is president of the Salisbury-Rowan Chapter of the NAACP.

Editor’s reply: Based on a Catawba Twitter alert and news reports published online by the Charlotte Observer, WBTV and others, the Post reported that the suspects said they were from Livingstone — not that they were in fact from Livingstone. A Salisbury Police Department spokesperson confirmed Wednesday that the suspects were not Livingstone College students.