Moving Forward: Local attorney says change needs to happen within balance of law

Moving Forward

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Each Tuesday, CBS 17’s goal is to highlight ways we as a community can move forward by having candid conversations with people in the community.

CBS 17’s Maris Payton continues the conversation with Kieran Shanahan.

He’s a local attorney who agrees people have the right to protest but said they should while also abiding by the law.

Payton started the conversation by asking him about his feeling after recently seeing police officers shot in the line of duty in Louisville following the grand jury’s decision in the Breonna Taylor case.

“Well, it’s tragic when anyone gets shot. Whether it’s a police officer or anyone. Certainly, my heart goes out to them into their families.” Said Shanahan. “Having a strong experience and background in law enforcement, I know what they endure and I know what they sacrifice to keep us all safe. And they put themselves in harm’s way but they know the risks.”

The two then dug into the disconnect between law enforcement and certain communities when it comes to trust.

Shanahan addressed this head-on.

“Well, I think there’s a couple things going on so on the one hand, I’m very sympathetic, if not empathetic, for an African-American who says when a police officer stops me I’m fearful. The truth is anybody who gets stopped by a police officer, including me who’s been in law enforcement, we don’t like being stopped by police.”

Shanahan then addressed the recent social justice protests going on in North Carolina and all over the country.

He said he agrees with protests but to a certain point.

“I think legitimate protest comes in all forms.” Shanahan said. “For example, and you know even situations where people are doing civil unrest, I think that ends when it comes to violence. I think it ends when it comes to throwing things at the police officers and threatening them. That’s really the hard part.”

He went on to say, “And I’m not here to say that there isn’t room for improvement but you don’t burn the whole system down because you have a minority, I mean a small percentage of law enforcement officers who don’t follow the law and they should be held accountable.”

Payton asked Shanahan for his solution – How do we as a community Move Forward?

“We do need to have the proverbial time out and bring the stakeholders together. Obviously when we talk to each other good things happen and I do believe that. And I believe people of all races and colors are fundamentally good. Americans are phenomenally good. Even these young kids who are drawn to the movement of social justice I applaud them. But we need to remember one thing we have to do it within the balance of the law. we do need to have the proverbial time out and bring the stakeholders together obviously when we talk to each other good things happen and I do believe that.”

CBS 17 would like to keep this conversation going.

If you would like to talk or if you know of someone who would like to share their views, email me at mpayton@cbs17.com.

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