On Sunday evening, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, dressed in a gray suit with a purple tie and flanked by an entourage, was inadvertently witness to a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police action that once would likely have had him marching in the streets with a bullhorn.
Jackson and his entourage were on South Tryon Street, near Mimosa Grill, when a cry stopped them in their tracks. Police officers nearby had dog-piled atop a dreadlocked black man who was threatening to kill himself. The man's howls were nearly unbearable, but Jackson never changed his stately expression.
The man writhed in the grips of the CMPD officers until they brought him to his feet. His forehead was sweaty. An officer asked the man not to spit on them as they lowered his head into the backseat of a cruiser. The man looked up at Jackson and mouthed the words, “I love you, man!”
Jackson and author/activist Michael Eric Dyson, a Georgetown University professor, briefly chatted with the officers. Turns out the man in the back of the squad car was apparently intoxicated and allegedly had been panhandling. It's not certain whether he was officially charged with a crime, since his profile was not available on the Arrest Inquiry website for Mecklenburg County as of the publish time of this article.
“They don’t want him on the street because of the image of the city,” Jackson said.
Jackson, Dyson, and the entourage had earlier attended a black caucus at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church on Beatties Ford Road and were headed to other Democratic National Convention events. The group walked away from the police scene as if it never happened. CL asked him how he would follow up on the incident, and Jackson referred us to his press person walking next to him. The press person said Jackson had no plans to follow up on the event without more information.
“We’re done here,” he said.