CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A Grammy-nominated rapper, an NFL football player, a sheriff and a city councilman got together Friday, on Juneteenth, to discuss what’s unfolding in the nation.
Rapper DaBaby, former Carolina Panther Thomas Davis, Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden and City Councilman Braxton Winston discussed police reform, systemic racism and the impact of the Black Lives Matter movement in North Carolina.
The event, called “Black Lives Been Mattered,” was an organized by the rapper and presented via a public press conference.
Ahead of the event, DaBaby described the discussion as an “opportunity to give people whose voices aren’t heard — whose voices don’t reach a million people — the opportunity to be heard.”
DaBaby, whose real name is Jonathan Kirk, said he’s had experiences with police and it’s time to have a serious conversation about it in his hometown of Charlotte.
“I have had my own experiences with the police. It’s time to have a serious conversation about police reform and systemic racism in our city. Black lives been mattered and always will matter,” he said. “Why have 20 cops [try] to find someone who is trying to do their job when you have real bad things going on?”
DaBaby, who was arrested and cited with possession of marijuana in 2019, said he has been repeatedly targeted by officers in the city.
“They follow me. They pull us over for no reason. They search our cars. They treat us like animals,” he said.
Davis also shared a personal story of being pulled over during his rookie year.
“Cops snatched me out the car (and) instantly put me in handcuffs,” he said. “I asked [the officer], ‘Why is this happening?’”
The panelists are working together to learn why there are disparities that result in a disproportionate amount of people of color being negatively affected by the legal system and how to stop it.
“I am going to do more this time around,” DaBaby said. “I will use my platform. I need to be more educated on voting.”
He said he wants to schedule routine conversations with elected officials and community leaders to figure out ways to “move forward.”
Davis announced he will donate $100,000 to help bond men out of jail on Father’s Day.
“It’s not about sitting back and listening,” Davis said. “It’s about taking action, and that is what I will decide to do.”
Davis and the other panelists encouraged people to do what they can to make a positive change in the community, WSOC-TV reported.
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