North Carolina Woman Shot by Police
GASTONIA, NC — July 14, 2018
News broke out from Gastonia about a woman who was shot by the police. Reports have it that the victim, Brittany Lynn, who was shot by a low-ranking police officer is a sister to one Jarvin Lynn who was a target for arrest by the police for an unrelated offense. The arrest report stated that Jarvis Lynn had a military 45 caliber pistol which he was using to resist arrest. However, this claim has been debunked by his family members who have said he never was with a gun in the house and never attempted to counter the officers who were in the process of carrying out the arrest.
According to Brittany Lynn, as she opened the door and saw the police, her hands were raised in the air, but Officer Whisnant to opened fire on her anyway. Investigations carried out revealed that Lynn was shot three times in her house along Gray Street around 11:30 pm.
Residents who witnessed the incident said that Lynn ran out of the home yelling, "I was shot." "I heard a pow, boom, boom, pow, and I hit the floor," said Barbara Mack who heard the shots from a distance. It was around this time that Lynn was rushed to Caromont Hospital. Although, she has been treated and released, Lynn said her daughter still quivers when she goes near the back door where there is still a bullet hole. "When she looks at that back door, she just stares into space and then she jumps," was what Lynn said.
"So, as she opened the door and let them in, she got shot," said Ricky Cole who was identified as Lynn’s father. In his words, “My grandson was in there, all of my grandbabies in there -- just shot through the house with all them in there, my wife.” Ricky said the gun shot was directed at his daughter’s chest in his home in the presence of everyone.
A young boy, Daniel Ramsey, who lives with his parents, did a Facebook live video recording after the shooting from outside his house. In his words, "They (police) hollered at somebody and I (saw) them take off running, another police (officer came) up and goes around to the back."
Since the incident many residents have voiced their disapproval of the situation and have lambasted the police for failing to carry out their fundamental duties of ensuring safety in the community and cries have gone up from community members that the police officer in question should be relieved of his duties. Reports gathered have it that the State Bureau of Investigation has placed Stephen Whisnant on mandatory leave, which is the usual protocol observed when an investigation is on-going about an officer involved in a shooting. The Gastonia police chief, when interviewed, denied having speaking to the officer in question, Stephen Whisnant. He said he had not been able to speak to Whisnant because he was still on leave.
Police Chief Robert Helton has yet to have any personal, one-on-one discussion with Brittany Lynn, the unarmed woman who was shot by the first-year officer with her children yards away, though he said he is willing to.
Although the District Attorney has viewed the shooting as an accident, Chief Robert Helton has still refused to offer his opinion as regarding that assessment. “I think it would be preliminary for me to give an opinion or come to any conclusions on what took place yet, because I have not seen everything and heard all of the statements,” Helton said.
Here is what Chief Robert Helton had to say in full,
“Our effort in the police department is to serve the entire community, we hate that this has happened, I think it would be preliminary for me to give an opinion or come to any conclusions on what took place yet, because I have not seen everything and heard all of the statements.” Helton went further to make his expectation known about the State Bureau of Investigation, stating that he is relying on them to be thorough and quick to come out and bring things to clarity.
"I want them to be thorough. I want them to look at everything,” Helton told the press. “I want them to make sure that we have done everything that we should." According to him, the awaited investigation will untie all the knots that surround the incident and will also point out all the issues that need to be addressed. He also said that there is a video of the shooting that was captured by a body camera which will also be reviewed by the State Bureau of Investigation and all reports and recommendations will be handed over to the District Attorney. Although this process might take some ample time, justice will be carried out and if Whisnant is found culpable, the DA will determine that and appropriate action will be taken.
The SBI said that as part of their investigations they are examining the gun Whisnant was claimed to be in possession of in comparison to the gun police said they took from Lynn.
District Attorney Locke Bell said, "I've been able to make a decision in a day, other times I have taken two years, it just depends on the information I need to make a complete decision." Activist John Barnett has openly spoken out in disagreement on the incident and how it all supposedly unfolded; "Gastonia, you got some cleaning up to do,”. “Gastonia, you are making me sick”, he also said.
What happens after this is still up in the air.
But one thing is for certain, people are becoming increasingly frustrated over how little accountability there is for police officers in cases like this all over the country. Black Lives Matter may have morphed into a copyrighted and trademarked slogan and Democrat-linked NGO, but it started out as a short, simple, accurate cry for justice from a community that, all-too-often, feels it doesn't matter at all, neither individually nor collectively.