MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - An African American man lost his life last week. The person that took it was a white police officer. Those two facts are public and undeniable. There are many other facts involved in this tragedy that are not public and will not be public for weeks. Some may never be.
To say that this is a horrible situation would be an understatement. Of course it is horrible and of course I have no idea what this family is going through, nor do I have any idea what the officer and his family are going through.
I can't speak to the long history of race relations or the effectiveness of police in the black community. What I can speak to is what I saw Monday at the press conference. I saw city officials stand up in a public forum and acknowledge the tragedy for what it was. I heard the mayor describe the system of turning over all investigation to the state without hesitation and within minutes of the shooting taking place. Recent history has not shown cities' governments as willing to immediately turn over everything and to allow an outside party to investigate their people.
I also saw a passionate and devastated brother demanding answers, answers that he had to know he could not get but still wanted. I can't imagine his sudden loss and I respect his need to ask.
At the end Mayor Strange asked for patience to allow the state investigators to do their job. That's a tough ask for that family and for that community right now, but it is what we need to have.
Montgomery had a plan in place in case a horrible tragedy like this ever happened. It is a plan that makes sense and was built off of errors and poor judgment by other cities in recent past.
I will pray for all involved in this tragedy including the investigators charged with piecing this all together. In time we will get more answers, but it will take time.