A nine-year-old girl went up to the podium before the Charlotte City Council Monday night to give a tearful speech on racism and police brutality.
“I’m here today to talk about how I feel,” Zianna Oliphant began. “I feel that we are treated differently than other people and I don’t like how we’re treated.”
“Don’t stop, do not stop!” people from the crowd chanted as Zianna sobbed on the podium, People reports.
“We are black people and we shouldn’t have to feel like this, we shouldn’t have to protest but y’all are treating us wrong,” Oliphant continued as more cheers erupted from the crowd. “We do this because we need to and we have rights.”
The council meeting occurred a week after a police officer fatally shot Keith Lamont Scott in a car park in Charlotte. In response to the shooting, protesters staged peaceful and violent protests for several days in Charlotte. Chanting “No justice, no peace,” protesters called out for the resignations of Mayor Jennifer Roberts and Police Chief Kerr Putney.
More than 50 protesters took to the podium to air their grievances over the death of Scott, a 43-year-old African-American husband and father. Many among the crowd held signs bearing the words “Black Lives Matter” and the names of those who were killed by police officers.
“I was kind of emotional, because, like, the things that I said is like powerful to me. So that’s why I started crying,” Oliphant told NBC News.
The council meeting began with the Pledge of Allegiance, with many among the crowd refusing to stand. The first speaker, Marcus Philimon, said that he respects and supports Putney but was booed off the podium, as reported by WSOC-TV.
The speakers who followed criticized the city leadership and expressed their anger at the delays in the release of the police videos of the shooting incident.
Scott, a disabled black man who suffered a brain injury in a motorcycle crash last year, was fatally shot while reading a book and waiting for his son to get off a school bus, according to his family.
He was shot four times in a car park in the University City area of Charlotte on September 20.
Putney said Scott held a firearm and refused to follow orders to drop his weapon after he was ordered out of his truck.
“Officers observed the subject get back into the vehicle at which time they began to approach the subject. The subject got back out of the vehicle armed with a firearm and posed an imminent deadly threat to the officers who subsequently fired their weapon striking the subject,” public affairs officer Keith Trietley said.
Lamont Scott was taken to Carolinas Medical Center where he was declared dead.
The victim’s brother told WCNC-TV that the officer who shot Lamont was an undercover cop.
“I think he shot him four times, I’m not sure but he’s dead,” he said.
The police recovered the gun that the victim was holding before he was shot, Trietley said.
The cop who gunned down Scott was identified as Bradley Vinson, who has been on active duty as an officer since July 2014.
Mr. Scott’s daughter recorded a live stream video during the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook.
She claimed in the video that her father was disabled and unarmed, and was holding a book when he was shot.
Last week, President Barack Obama said in an interview with ABC News that police reforms have to be made.
“The way we change the system requires us to be able to reach out and engage the broader American community. And that requires being peaceful,” Obama said. “The overwhelming majority of people who have been concerned about police community relations doing it the right way. Every once in awhile, you see folks doing it the wrong way.”
“The way we change the system requires to be able to reach out and engage the broader American community,” he added. “That requires being peaceful, that requires being thoughtful about what are the specific reforms you’re looking for.”
[Featured Image by CNN/YouTube]