CHARLOTTE, N.C. – In 2016, after the deadly officer-involved shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, a Charlotte photographer was in Uptown as protestors filled the streets and clashed with police. Now he’s on the streets again documenting protests following another deadly officer-involved incident, this time in Minneapolis.
The images on television from Thursday night are reality for Alvin Jacobs Jr.
“I'm afraid bro. If I'm shooting a free for all, I'm afraid,” Jacobs says.
The Charlotte photographer is used to chaotic scenes. He's documented similar events, including Ferguson, Missouri, Baltimore, and Charlotte.
“I call it situational awareness. When I feel like it's time to move, I move. I'm not trying to be a hero,” Jacobs says.
Jacobs, who sprained his ankle during his first night covering the events in Minnesota, says people feel like they've run out of options.
“People have done everything you have to do nonviolently to ignite change, and this is the only way people feel now their voices can be heard,” Jacobs added.
Greg Jackson was one of those protestors wanting his voice heard on the streets of Charlotte in 2016.
Jackson says, “I knew i had to do something, and it would have been an injustice to the people I represent not to take advantage of that.”
His solution was to start “Heal Charlotte,” whose main goal is to bridge the divide between police and the community.
The organization got active immediately, Jackson says, and it all starts with dialogue.
Jackson says he's developed good relationships with the police and has tried to find ways to bring the community and the officers patrolling around them together.
He's even gone through police training to see what can be improved.
Jackson’s recommendation to Minneapolis:
“The government, the police department in Minneapolis has to understand is you have to immediately become active and make change, and you can't sit on your hands. Otherwise you'll lose trust that you're trying to build.”
Jackson says, four years later, he has found trust and believes it can be built in Minneapolis despite what's going on.
Jacobs says the protests will continue with one clear message.
“It is anger towards police brutality. It is not police. It is police brutality. White people are tired of police brutality. The African American population here is tired of police brutality.”