Charlotte Faces Aftermath of Protests Ignited by Fatal Police Shooting; 16 Officers Injured

Joe Marusak et al., Charlotte Observer, September 20, 2016

Charlotte officials say they are preparing for more protests today following a night of violence over a police officer’s fatal shooting of an African-American man Tuesday in the University City area. The dead man was identified as Keith Lamont Scott, 43.

Sixteen police officers were injured overnight in a series of clashes, and there were reports early Wednesday of motorists on Interstate 85 being hurt and their vehicles damaged when protesters threw rocks, bottles and traffic cones off interstate overpasses onto traffic below.

The officers hurt suffered mostly minor injuries, though one was hit in the face with a rock, officials said.

{snip}

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts held a Wednesday press conference and urged the community to remain calm and wait for the facts in the case to be released before jumping to conclusions.

Her comments came just an hour before one activist group held its own news conference, urging the black community to start an economic boycott of white-owned businesses Charlotte.

{snip}

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said the department is still viewing video from the scene, though the officer involved in the shooting himself was not wearing a camera. Putney said the officer who fired the shots was in plain clothes, wearing a vest and was accompanied by uniformed officers when they approached the victim.

It remains unclear whether Scott was pointing a gun at the officer when he was shot, Putney said. The officer was also African-American.

Putney added that officers have not found a book at the scene of the shooting, contrary to social media claims that Scott was holding a book.

“I can tell you we did not find a book that has been referenced to,” Putney said. “We did find a weapon. The weapon was there and witnesses have corroborated it, beyond just the officers.”

{snip}

The destruction late Tuesday and early Wednesday included blocking all lanes of Interstate 85 and looting a Walmart on North Tryon Street at about 3:30 a.m. The store was closed early Wednesday, with wooden pallets piled in front of the doors and shopping carts blocking the driveway into the lot.

Three or more tractor trailer trucks were stopped and looted on Interstate 85, and at least two fires were started on the interstate, as the protesters burned items removed from the trucks.

Motorists were reportedly stuck on Interstate 85 for hours at the height of the protests, which ignited at a time when the nation has seen a spate of police shootings of black men, which has led to protests from Ferguson, Mo., to Tulsa to Chicago and started the Black Lives Matter movement.

Only one person has been arrested so far, police said. {snip}

{snip}

Police said they had been searching for someone who had an outstanding warrant at The Village at College Downs complex on Old Concord Road when they saw Scott leave his car holding a gun.

Officers approached Scott after he got back into the car. He emerged from the car again armed with a firearm “and posed an imminent deadly threat to the officers, who subsequently fired their weapon striking the subject,” police said in a statement. “The officers immediately requested Medic and began performing CPR.”

{snip}

Police said they recovered the firearm Scott was holding. But a woman who said she is Scott’s daughter claimed on a live-streamed video on Facebook that Scott was unarmed when he was shot. The video went viral, with more than 521,000 views by 9:30 p.m.

In the video, the woman said her father was sitting in his car reading a book and waiting for the school bus to drop off his son. She claimed that her father was Tasered and then shot four times, and that he was disabled.

{snip}

A public records search shows that Scott was convicted in April 2004 of a misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon charge in Mecklenburg County. Other charges stemming from that date were dismissed: felony assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, and misdemeanors assault on a child under 12, assault on a female and communicating threats.

{snip}

Shortly before 11 p.m., police donned gas masks. Soon, clouds of tear gas bloomed in front of their lines.

Protesters damaged at least two CMPD vehicles, one cruiser and one SUV, which were removed from the scene. One officer was hit in the face with a rock, CMPD said. Observer news partner WBTV said three of its reporters were hit during the protest, and at least one went to the hospital after a blow to the head.

{snip}

[Editor’s Note: The tweets below are not part of the original story, but contain videos of some of the rioters’ actions.]

Topics: , ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.