Governor declares state of emergency after violent night in Charlotte
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Protesters clashed with police in Charlotte for a second night Wednesday — a day after violence erupted in the city over the killing of an African-American man by an officer.
Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency, and said he initiated efforts to deploy members of the National Guard and State Highway Patrol to Charlotte.
One person was shot by another civilian during the latest protests Wednesday night, city officials said. The person, who was not identified, is in critical condition and on life support, the city tweeted. Earlier, the city had said the person had died.
At least four police officers were injured Wednesday, according to police.
The second day of protests broke out the same day the city’s police chief gave more details on the shooting that killed Keith Lamont Scott.
Chief Kerr Putney addressed Scott family’s claim that he was reading a book in his vehicle when police officers approached and shot him Tuesday afternoon.
Putney said Scott was armed and no book was found at the scene.
He was shot by an African-American officer after refusing repeated demands to put down a gun, Putney said, adding that a gun was recovered from the scene.
State of emergency
As protests in downtown descended into violence, Gov. McCrory warned in a statement that “any violence directed toward our citizens or police officers or destruction of property should not be tolerated.”
Some rioters and protesters dispersed after police fired tear gas before 11 p.m. ET.
But some used other ways to spread their message, including overturning trash cans and setting contents on fire. Others spray-painted “black lives matters” on business windows while others shattered windows of a building in downtown Charlotte.
Some rioters smashed things while others knocked over an ATM and grabbed money from it, said Marcus DiPaulo, a freelance photographer.
He said he saw a group of 300 people spread over several city blocks early Thursday.
Annette Albright, who attended the protests, said those misbehaving need direction.
“We don’t have leadership that this crowd can relate to, Albright said. “We know how to protest and have our voices heard in a civilized way but who is going to teach the younger crowd? Church leaders need to get out there and tell these kids that this is not the right way.”
What the police say
Putney said evidence and witnesses support the officers’ claim that Scott was armed.
“It’s time for the voiceless majority to stand up and be heard,” said the police chief, who is black.
“It’s time to change the narrative because I can tell you from the facts that the story’s a little bit different as to how it’s been portrayed so far, especially through social media,” he said.
Officers repeatedly told Scott to drop his handgun, the chief said, but he didn’t. Officer Brentley Vinson, who is black, then shot him.
The chief said he was not certain whether Scott pointed his gun at officers.
A person doesn’t have to point a weapon directly at police to prompt deadly force, CNN law enforcement analyst Art Roderick said.
“You don’t have to actually wait until a handgun is pointed at you because you’re talking milliseconds of a decision as to whether you’re going to pull your trigger, or that individual is going to pull their trigger,” he said.
Vinson, who was in plain clothes and wearing a police vest, did not have a body camera. Three uniformed officers were wearing cameras. There are also dash cam recordings and investigators are reviewing the footage, Putney said.
Charlotte mayor Jennifer Roberts said she will be watching video from the incident Thursday.
Daughter streams live video
Moments after her father was shot, Lyric Scott started recording on Facebook Live, livid and screaming at officers on the scene.
“They shot my daddy ’cause he’s black,'” she said. “He was sitting in his car reading a mother******* book. So they shot him. That’s what happened.”
Lyric, who keeps the camera on officers through most of the 31-minute video, said her father often goes outside to read a book.
About halfway through the video, Lyric apparently learns from a news report that her father has died. She starts screaming and crying hysterically.
“My daddy’s dead! My daddy’s dead!” she screams. “Where’s the cop that shot my daddy?”
On Wednesday, Keith Scott’s wife released a statement saying her family is devastated and called for protesters to remain calm.
“Keith was a loving husband, father, brother and friend who will be deeply missed every day,” Rakeyia Scott said.
Another police shooting
The Charlotte case is the latest in a series of controversial shootings of black men by police. Protesters have been demanding justice and an end to police brutality for months.
Last week’s fatal shooting of Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man in Tulsa, Oklahoma, sparked protests after video of the killing was aired Monday.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch acknowledged the country’s racial tensions after the latest police shootings, but denounced the violence that erupted in Charlotte.
“Protest is protected by our Constitution and is a vital instrument for raising issues and creating change. But when it turns violent, it undermines the very justice that it seeks to achieve.”