NAACP leader cites ‘red flags’ on fatal shooting
By Elizabeth Cook
SALISBURY — The president of the local NAACP said Friday the fatal shooting of Ferguson Laurent by a city police officer raises questions that need to be addressed.
Police say the 22-year-old black man shot at Special Response Team officers who burst into his home Thursday morning with a search warrant. At least one of the officers fired back, fatally injuring Laurent.
Scott Teamer, president of the NAACP’s Salisbury-Rowan branch, said Salisbury Police Chief Jerome Stokes invited him and several pastors and community leaders — white and black — to the police station Thursday night for a meeting.
The chief went over the incident and asked the participants to help keep people calm.
Teamer did not challenge the call for calm but said in a statement to the Post that he was disappointed Stokes didn’t provide more answers. After consulting with the state NAACP office, Teamer said, he felt the community should be concerned about several unanswered questions. “There are red flags,” he said.
• He called it “inexcusable” that officers serving a search warrant on Laurent’s home did not wear body cameras, since video footage has played a prominent role in investigations across the country. If the officers serving the warrant expected violence, as police said, wouldn’t that be a time when body cameras are most needed, he asked.
• After the shooting, the Sheriff’s Office and the SBI went to the scene to help police and start an investigation. Teamer said he wanted to know if the Police Department considered getting their help with serving the warrant in the first place. He said there was tension between the city’s black community and Salisbury Police, a tension not felt toward the other agencies.
• Concerning what police called “no-knock search warrant” that allowed them to enter the home before announcing who they were, Teamer wanted to know why it was “a good idea to bust into anyone’s house.”
The NAACP president said he was not yet making a judgment about whether officers’ actions were right or wrong, “but we want questions answered quickly.”
Some who were in the meeting Thursday night felt Stokes was evasive about details, Teamer said. He called for police to share more information.
“It’s going to come out, the sooner the better,” the NAACP president said. “We need transparency.”
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