Featured photo: The moment at which Officer Sletten shoots his third shot at the car that Nasanto Crenshaw was driving. (screenshot)

Did they even watch the videos? 

That’s the question I ask myself after watching dozens of videos released by the Greensboro Police Department on Tuesday morning. The hours of footage, dumped onto the GPD’s YouTube channel, depict the Aug. 21, 2022 incident in which Officer ML Sletten shot and killed 17-year-old Nasanto Antonio Crenshaw after a traffic stop.

Shortly after the videos were released, multiple local news outlets posted short stories online linking to the playlist of 104 videos. The News & Record, our daily print paper of record, posted a similar story online notifying readers about the availability of the videos. None reported what the videos depicted, which brings me back to my original question.

Did they even watch the videos?

Sure, it’s cumbersome and time consuming to sift through more than 100 videos which total more than 16 hours of footage. But to simply repeat the police department’s own account of what happened and intersperse pushback from the family’s attorneys is not journalism. It’s lazy.

Doing the work of watching and rewatching and rewatching the footage multiple times of the exact moments when Crenshaw was shot and killed is the work.

Is it traumatizing? Yes.

Is it horrifying? Yes.

Should it be done? Yes.

If not, what is news even for? To be a simple mouthpiece for the powers that be?

What happened to holding the powerful accountable? What happened to putting information into context?

In a competitive news environment, the motto is often ‘First is better than last.’ But when a child is killed and we are able to witness it, we need to take the time to do so.

Thorough is better than fast. Accurate is better than fast. Accountable is better than fast.

Nasanto Antonio Crenshaw deserves better. We all do.

So this is my plea to my colleagues in local news: Please watch the videos. Because the family and the attorneys of the 17-year-old who should not have been shot and killed (yes, even if the car was stolen), have had to watch the footage multiple times.

It’s the least we can do.

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