By Silke Garbeck
On Monday, friends and family of Aaron Winchester marched in remembrance of his 2008 murder at the hands of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
Known to the community as the “March for A,” the event has been put on by his family every year since Winchester’s murder. His mother Bonita led marchers on the route he took as he walked away from the police, starting at the gas station at the intersection of Dalton and North Tryon, heading across the street down Sylvania Ave, and stopping at the spot where he was murdered.
On May 20, 2008, Winchester had been in a traffic accident which had instigated an argument with the mother of his son, who was with him at the time. Rattled and upset by the situation, Winchester had gone into the neighborhood to blow off steam. As he was walking, Winchester was stopped by officer David Jester who attempted to search him.
Jester murdered Winchester by shooting him four times as he evaded the search, but later claimed that it was because Winchester had a gun. While a handgun was found near his body after the fact, many suspect that it was planted, and eight years later critics would argue the same in the murder of Keith Lamont-Scott by CMPD. Jester was never charged of any wrongdoing. “It’s just a cover up, I don’t agree with it,” Winchester’s father Ronald told the press at the time.
At this year’s march, attendees held pictures of Aaron and his favorite songs were played. At the end, speeches were given and flowers were placed at the site of Winchester’s death. A bullet hole in a nearby utility pole is still clearly visible.
“It’s not only about me and my son,” Bonita said, “but about all the other sons and young men that have been killed.”
A member of Serve the People Charlotte gave a short speech on the oppressive system we live in and the necessity to get organized and fight against it. “They claim we live in a democracy, but there is no democracy or justice for working-class people,” the STP-C member said.
Police do not exist to protect the masses. They defend the ruling class and the status quo. The “March for A” shows that the Black Nation is sick of being attacked by the police, not just in Charlotte, but all over the country where police regularly kill and abuse Black people and face no repercussions.
The march defiantly resists CMPD’s attempt to erase Aaron Winchester from the lives of his family and friends, and demonstrates the necessity of organizing against the police.