One Charlotte Demonstrator Proved His Point By Remaining Seated

Carol Nisar
An iconic image of a seated Charlotte resident emerged last night amid the turbulent protest. The photo, taken by a national reporter, was tweeted 5,000 times.

Public demonstrations continued for a second night in Charlotte, North Carolina after the fatal police shooting of African-American resident Keith Lamont Scott on Tuesday.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency on Wednesday evening amid the public’s rising violence which erupted over the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s abuse of power.

Among the dozens of arrests and injuries on both sides of the riot battlefield, one person was reported to have been shot.

Standing out from the crowd of the city’s demonstrators was one particular individual who sent a powerful message to those invoking disorder around him, to both riot police and disruptive residents.

Henry Lee, 51, peacefully sat in a lawn chair while wearing his headphones. He had planted himself in front of a human blockade of riot police and would only budge backwards as the row of officers incrementally pressed forward, a journalist observed.

The Guardian’s Matthew Teague reported that Lee said, “I will not run.”

Lee’s gesture sent the ultimate message of dissent to the police, who were wearing full riot gear and armed with tear gas. Additionally, his staying seated evoked a necessary example to those inciting violence that there are alternative ways to protest.   

Teague wrote that after a protester threw a glass bottle in Lee’s vicinity, he said, “Cut that out! Stop throwing sh*t. There’s a right way to do this.”

The answer perhaps is not to fight police violence with more violence, but instead to provoke meaningful conversation through calculated civil disobedience—which is precisely what Lee has done.


Read More: USA Today Columnist On Charlotte Protesters: ‘Run Them Down’

Photo credit: Twitter, @MatthewTeague