Without allowing the nation to heal from the recent police shooting of Terence Crutcher, violent protests have erupted in North Carolina after yet another unarmed Black man was shot dead by police while he sat reading a book waiting to pick his child up from school.
Police in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Tuesday fatally shot a black man they said was armed as they searched for someone else, sparking violent protests that injured more than 12 officers. Witnesses said the man who was killed, Keith Lamont Scott, was unarmed.
The shooting ― the sixth Charlotte-Mecklenburg police killing of a civilian in the past year ― happened just before 4 p.m. at an apartment complex roughly a mile from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officers were searching at the complex for someone else who was wanted on an outstanding warrant, police said in a statement.
Police said they called a medic and administered CPR. Scott, 43, died at the hospital.
Police identified the shooter as Officer Brentley Vinson, who has worked for the department since July 2014. Vinson is black.
The killing unleashed a wave of anger, with hundreds of people converging at the shooting scene, chanting anthems that decried police violence. More than a dozen officers and several members of the press were injured. Police blamed “agitators” who joined the protesters for destroying marked patrol cruisers.
Police said Civil Emergency Unit vehicles were sent to remove officers whose vehicles had been surrounded by protesters.
The demonstrators also set a fire on the interstate after allegedly stealing cargo from a truck that was carrying auto parts. The unidentified driver told WSOC-TV that she feared for her life.
“I understand they want to make a statement, but they are hurting innocent people trying to make a living,” the driver said.
Once the police moved in and cleared the demonstrators from the highway with flash grenades, the protesters dispersed, Reuters reported. A group of protesters then broke into a Walmart store, WSOC reported.
Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, who was reportedly “monitoring the situation closely,” took to Twitter to urge for calm.
“The community deserves answers and (a) full investigation will ensue,” she said on Twitter, adding in a subsequent post, “I want answers too.”
A woman who identified herself as Scott’s daughter captured the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook Live. She and other witnesses said Scott had a disability and did not have a gun.
“The police just shot my daddy four times for being black,” the woman said.
The Huffington Post couldn’t independently verify the video and was unable to reach the woman. Her Facebook page was later disabled, but a version of the video remained viewable on YouTube (warning: strong language).
Police didn’t say how many shots were fired.
This is the sixth time in the past year that Charlotte-Mecklenburg officers have been involved in a fatal shooting of a civilian, according to police data. The district attorney found police to be justified in the five previous killings, according to local news channel WSOC-9.
All of the department’s officers began wearing body cameras a year ago. Three of four fatal shootings that happened from September 2015 to May weren’t captured on cameras. It’s unclear if a June 3 shooting was filmed by the department’s body cameras.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s tactical and SWAT units do not wear body cameras, the Charlotte Observer reported.
Police Chief Kerr Putney called the investigation “preliminary” and said both the criminal investigative bureau and internal affairs are involved. Vinson was put on paid leave while the probe is underway.