Charlotte Police Shooting Spurs Anger
Tear gas was used to disperse protestors after a fatal police shooting of a Black man by a Charlotte officer after the ensuing unrest left about a dozen officers injured and shut down a highway.
Protests broke out Tuesday night after 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott was fatally shot by a black officer, identified by WJZY-TV as Officer Brentley Vinson at an apartment complex on the city’s northeast side. They continued into early Wednesday morning, when TV footage showed dozens of protesters on Interstate 85 apparently looting semi-trucks and setting their contents on fire on the highway.
In a Facebook Live video, a woman claiming to be the victim’s daughter said her father was disabled and unarmed at the time of the shooting. She said he was sitting in a vehicle waiting to pick up a child from the school bus when police shot him several times. But detectives said they recovered the gun the victim was holding from the scene and were in the process of interviewing witnesses.
The Associated Press was not able to immediately verify the authenticity of the post. Police say he was armed and posed a threat.
According to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, around 3:54 p.m. Tuesday, officers were searching for a suspect with an outstanding warrant at The Village at College Downs when they saw a man inside a vehicle in the apartment complex.
Police say the man got out of the car holding a gun and then got back inside of the vehicle.
“The subject got back out of the vehicle armed with a firearm and posed an imminent deadly threat to the officers who subsequently fired their weapon striking the subject,” the department said in a news release sent to WJZY. Officers then immediately requested an ambulance and began performing CPR, police said.
The man was taken to Carolinas Medical Center where he later died from life-threatening injuries. It is unclear whether the victim was the same man as the suspect police were originally looking for.
A separate but parallel investigation will be conducted by the Internal Affairs Bureau to determine whether the police department’s policies and procedures were adhered to during the course of the incident. The officer involved has been placed on administrative leave per the department’s protocol. Vinson has been placed on administrative leave.
Tuesday night, a larger group of demonstrators gathered near the scene of the shooting. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department tweeted that demonstrators were destroying marked police vehicles and that approximately 12 officers had been injured, including one who was hit in the face with a rock. Photos and TV video showed police firing tear gas to break up the crowd. Some officers were in riot gear.
By 5 a.m. Wednesday, the streets were quiet with no protesters in sight and I-85 was moving again. Broken glass and rocks littered the ground where a police car had been vandalized. Less than 5 miles away, wooden pallets barricaded the entrance of a Wal-Mart that had apparently been looted.
The unrest in Charlotte came just hours after another demonstration in Tulsa, Oklahoma, over the shooting there of an unarmed black man by police.
This story has been updated.