Commentary: Another armed and dangerous white man taken safely into custody

William Coleman Scott

Commentary: Another armed and dangerous white  man taken safely  into custody
June 23
13:45 2021

We’ve seen it play out dozens of times over the years. It happened in Charleston, S.C., in 2015 with Dylann Roof. It happened in March when Robert Long went on a shooting spree at three different spas in Atlanta. And last week it happened right here in Winston-Salem with William Scott. Armed and dangerous white men taken safely into custody by law enforcement, while dozens of unarmed Black people continue to  be killed by law enforcement every year. 

As a journalist, part of my job is to gauge how the community feels on topics and issues. And as I listened to Chief Catrina Thompson discuss the details of what transpired on June 15, and I heard that 26-year-old William Coleman Scott was taken into custody after he shot into a crowded police station before leading police on a five-mile chase and having a shootout with police in one of the busiest parks in the city; AFTER he killed his mother and grandmother – and before I even knew his race – I knew immediately what the response would be from many people in the community: another armed and dangerous white person taken safely into custody by law enforcement, while dozens of unarmed Black people continue to be killed by law enforcement every year. 

Here’s some of the facts: around 3:34 p.m. on Monday, June 15, more than a dozen shots from a high-powered semi-automatic rifle were fired into the District 1 police station on North Point Boulevard. After his vehicle was identified, Scott led officers with the Winston-Salem Police Department (WSPD) on a four-and-a-half-mile chase that ended in front of Reynold’s High School gymnasium on Northwest Boulevard. 

At that point, Scott got out of his vehicle and fired several more shots at officers before dropping the semi-automatic rifle and running toward Hanes Park. While being chased by officers in the park, Scott fired several shots at officers from a handgun. After a brief stand-off and exchange of gunfire, Scott was shot and taken into custody. 

Further investigation into Scott and his known places of residence unveiled two horrific scenes. At around 5:30 p.m.officers with the WSPD and deputies with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office traveled to a home located in the 1700 block of Curraghmore Road in Clemmons, where they found the body of Scott’s mother, Kimberly Scott. Law enforcement also traveled to a residence at 224 Tabor View Lane in Winston-Salem, where they found the body of Scott’s 84-year-old grandmother, Glenda Snow Corriher. After receiving treatment at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Scott was transported to the Forsyth County Jail, where he will be held until his day in court, a day many Black people don’t get to see in this country. 

Alton Sterling’s crime was selling CDs and he never got his day in court. George Floyd allegedly passed a counterfeit $20 bill and he never got his day in court. And right here in N.C., Andrew Brown Jr. didn’t live to see his day in court for a warrant that was issued for his arrest. Deputies with Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office shot him in the back of the head when he tried to elude officers by driving off in a vehicle. 

Among Black Americans, the rate of fatal police shootings between 2015 and May 2021 stood at 36 per million of the population, while for white Americans, the rate stood at 15 fatal police shootings per million of the population. Which means if you’re Black, you’re more than twice as likely to die in a fatal police shooting than someone who is white. 

But yet, that same system allows for neo-Nazi Dylann Roof to walk into a church, murder nine innocent people, and be offered a Burger King hamburger before he’s taken to his nice comfy private cell – the same system that made it possible for Duke Webb, a white man who opened fire on a bowling alley in Illinois, leaving three people dead, and Robert Long, the white man who killed eight people at an Atlanta Spa earlier this year, to be taken safely to jail.

While I’m not advocating for the police to start killing more people, what I am advocating for is equal treatment. If law enforcement has the capability to take white killers and mass murderers into custody, then Black people shouldn’t be twice as likely to lose their life in a confrontation with police. 

Tevin Stinson is The Chronicle’s senior reporter.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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