CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- One of the first black police officers to walk the beat in Charlotte has died.
Ray Booton was one of the first eight black officers to join the Charlotte Police Department. He joined in 1946 after serving in World War II.
"I said to myself at the time, this is an opportunity for me," Booten said during an interview in February. "We were assigned to colored neighborhoods with colored facilities, with emphasis of stay where you are put."
Booton left the department after four years and went on to do many things, including becoming a minster.
Seven years ago the 89-year-old man was stricken with throat cancer and had a tracheotomy. He was given two years to live. He proved the experts wrong and lived long enough to see Charlotte hire its first African-American police chief and America elect its first black president.
"I'm one of those who would have said no it couldn't happen," Booten said. "The glass ceiling has been broken for these young people."
Booton was the last surviving member of those original eight black officers.