Chief Medlock: You Are Not Alone In Your Frustrations

Last week headlines across the state, both in print and via the airwaves, proclaimed the frustration of Fayetteville Police Chief Harold Medlock with the lack of cooperation his department is receiving in its investigation into the death of Joseph Braxton III, a 16-year-old, who was killed at a party last week.

Chief Medlock, you are not alone. In recent months headlines across the nation have focused on senseless killings. People have taken to the streets, screaming for justice. While in Fayetteville, those who know the truth behind this young man’s death are covering it up. What a travesty.

The police believe that numerous people in attendance at the party, where the young man was shot, not only saw the shooting but may have also videoed it on their cell phones. And no one is talking. No one. Why?

Are they afraid that the guilty party will turn a gun on them or their loved ones? Or are they just covering up for a friend or family member?

To me, it doesn’t matter. For those who know, for those who witnessed the senseless killing of this young man, their failure to speak is criminal and it should be treated that way.

Chief Medlock should serve warrants on the host of the party and every single person in attendance and charge them with every single possible thing he can. Maybe he can charge them with obstruction of justice for impeding a police investigation.

Maybe he should charge them with accessory to murder. Yes, charge every single person at the party, every single person on the street with accessory to murder. Put them in jail and let them rot until the truth comes out.

Because that is what it is going to take. If people will not man up and take responsibility for policing their own neighborhoods, for protecting the children in their care, then they need to pay the consequences. Too many times over the past few years, young people, who by all accounts have had promising futures, have been killed senselessly. And, it keeps on happening. Why?

Maybe because as parents, and yes, I’m speaking as a mother, we fail to take responsibility for our children. If my son were invited to a party where you had to have a bracelet to come in because of fear that trouble would happen, he wouldn’t be going. If you, as a host of a party, have to take so many precautions to have it, don’t.

Maybe as community members, we fail to take responsibility for our community. In my neighborhood, we all know each other. We know whose kid belongs to whom, and we think they all belong to all of us. If a kid is out of line, an adult gets on them and then lets their parents know. If someone is in our neighborhood who does not belong, we are all aware of it. We watch out for each other. We call each other if someone leaves their garage door open or if one of our kids is driving too fast down the street. We take ownership of our neighborhood because that’s what makes it a community.

What occurs in my neighborhood should be happening all over our county. It’s what happened when our parents were growing up and for many of us when we grew up. Now, our communities have become nameless, souless places. They are void of caring.

How else can you explain that a number of people saw a young man gunned down and nobody’s talking? It is from a lack of responsibility and caring. It is from a lack of humanity.

This month is anti-bullying month. In Grays Creek, where I live, there are signs everywhere calling attention to the fact that bullying won’t be permitted. Do we need signs all over our city reminding people of the value of human life? Do we need signs all over our city reminding parents not to let their kids go where it isn’t safe? Do we need signs reminding people to care? It seems so.

I am mad. All of the residents of Cumberland County should be mad. They should be furious. And the people in the community where the shooting happened should be beyond mad. They should be on the streets in front of the house where the shooting occurred. They should be in the churches praying for their community. They should have their children on lock down until the truth comes out.

And Fayetteville Police Chief Harold Medlock, who says he is beyond frustrated, who says he’s angry, should use every law in the book to hold those who are silent responsible.

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