Shattered Relations Recounting the death of Kiwane Carrington
On October 9, 2009, 15 year old Kiwane Carrington was shot and killed by an on-duty police officer, Daniel Norbits, from the Champaign Police Department. This is the recounting of the news stories, editorials, and letters to the editor published by The News-Gazette in its daily newspaper and on news-gazette.com reporting on and reacting to that fateful incident.
Activists in the city's black community had been complaining about police abuse for years, and city officials had come off as dismissive. They trust their police officers to adhere to training and treat everyone equally. The perception among those who are being policed was exactly the opposite.
The blast of Norbits' gunshot on Friday, Oct. 9, 2009, may as well have been the detonation of a bomb that had been ticking for years. What the black community had feared all along had happened – an innocent black kid was murdered because of an oppressive white police force, they would say. Relations between the city's police force and the black community had already been splintered, but they shattered that day.
Mourning, protests and emotional testimony at city council meetings would ensue.
In the two years since the shooting of Kiwane Carrington, the relationship has improved marginally, and a clear narrative has emerged as documented by The News-Gazette. Community leaders and city officials alike will still say there still is a lot of work to do, but the difference now is that they acknowledge it. The consequences from Kiwane's death continue to reverberate. And The News-Gazette will be there to chronicle the next chapters.
Unfortunately, it took the death of a teenager for everyone in the community to recognize an urgent need to repair a shattered relationship.
- The News-Gazette, Inc., September 2011
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