Charlotte protests continue, but new curfew passes without incident
A man stands in front of a line of police officers on a roadway in Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday night during a protest that broke out after police shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott, 43, in the parking lot of a condominium complex. Protests continued for days.(Jeff Siner / Charlotte Observer)
A protester uses milk to wash tear gas from her eyes after police used the gas to clear demonstrators who were blocking Interstate 277 in Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday.(Dillon Deaton / For The Times)
Protesters raise their hands as they march through downtown Charlotte, N.C., to protest the fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott.(Dillon Deaton / For The Times)
Police say they found this gun holster on Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, N.C.(Charlotte Police Department)
A handgun that police say was in Keith Lamont Scott’s possession.(Charlotte Police Department)
A marijuana blunt police said they recovered after fatally shooting Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, N.C. Police said officers became suspicious of Scott after they saw him rolling the blunt in his car and then saw him “hold a gun up.”(Charlotte Police Department)
Police use pepper spray and tear gas to force protesters off Interstate 277 on Thursday.(Dillon Deaton / For The Times)
A protester kneels after police used tear gas to clear demonstrators on the Interstate in Charlotte.(Dillon Deaton / For The Times)
Protesters gather outside a government building in downtown Charlotte on Thursday.(Dillon Deaton / For The Times)
A protester with a biblical message.(Sean Rayford / Getty Images)
As curfew in Charlotte approached Thursday night, demonstrators voiced their views loudly.(Sean Rayford / Getty Images)
Police Capt. Mike Campagna talks with a demonstrator.(Sean Rayford / Getty Images)
Demonstrators march in Charlotte on Thursday.(Sean Rayford / Getty Images)
Members of the North Carolina National Guard stand guard outside the Omni Hotel in downtown Charlotte on Thursday.(Gerry Broome / Associated Press)
Police stand at the ready in Charlotte on Thursday.(Jeff Siner / Charlotte Observer)
Candles surround the spot where a protester was fatally shot in Charlotte, N.C.(Veasey Conway / European Pressphoto Agency)
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney speaks during a news conference at department headquarters on Thursday.(John D. Simmons / Charlotte Observer)
Police and protesters carry a seriously wounded person into the parking area of the Omni Hotel in downtown Charlotte on Wednesday.(Brian Blanco / Getty Images)
A protester faces off with riot police on Wednesday.(Brian Blanco / Getty Images)
A policeman and a protester face to face.(Nicholas Kamm / AFP/Getty Images)
A protester in downtown Charlotte.(Nicholas Kamm / AFP/Getty Images)
Police fire tear gas as protesters converge in downtown Charlotte, N.C., the day after the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott.(Gerry Broome / Associated Press)
Demonstrators take to the streets Wednesday to protest the fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, N.C.(Chuck Burton / Associated Press)
A protester sits near a pool of blood after a man was shot during a demonstration over the fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, N.C. The man, Justin Carr, later died at a local hospital, and police said they arrested and charged a man with with the shooting.(Chuck Burton / Associated Press)
Demonstrators protest the fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, N.C.(Chuck Burton / Associated Press)
Police fire tear gas at protesters in downtown Charlotte, N.C., the day after the fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott.
(Gerry Broome / Associated Press)
Protesters throw chairs at a restaurant during a demonstration against the use of deadly force by police in Charlotte, N.C.(Nicholas Kamm / AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters march to demonstrate agasint the fatal police shooting of Keith Scott in Charlotte, N.C.(Brian Blanco / Getty Images)
Police face off with protestors on Interstate 85 in Charlotte, N.C., during demonstrations after a man was shot to death by police.(Sean Rayford / Getty Images)
Protesters clash with police in Charlotte, N.C., in an overnight demonstration that broke out after Keith Lamont Scott was fatally shot by an officer.(Jeff Siner / Charlotte Observer)
A protestor kicks a tear gas canister fired by police in Charlotte, N.C.(Jeff Siner / Charlotte Observer)
Protestors surround a police vehicle in Charlotte, N.C.(Jeff Siner / Charlotte Observer)
Protestors march down a street in the early hours of Wednesday. The protests began after 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott was shot and killed by police in northeast Charlotte, N.C.(Sean Rayford / Getty Images)
A police officer in riot gear walks past a fire on Interstate 85 in Charlotte, N.C.(Sean Rayford / Getty Images)
A protestor walks alongside police officers in Charlotte.(Jeff Siner / Charlotte Observer)
Police officers stand in a haze of tear gas on Old Concord Road in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday night. Protests broke out after police shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott in the parking lot of the Village at College Downs condominium complex Tuesday afternoon.(Jeff Siner / Charlotte Observer)
Protestors hold up their arms in the air in front of a police line early Wednesday morning in Charlotte.(Jeff Siner / The Charlotte Observer)
Protesters gathered in Charlotte for a third straight night Thursday, as National Guard troops patrolled the streets and the city instituted a midnight curfew in hopes of heading off the violence that erupted after a black man was fatally shot by police.
Large crowds swept chanting through the streets, at one point surging onto Interstate 277 before police drove them back with tear gas.
“Move back! Move back!” police shouted, eventually restoring the free flow of traffic on the busy thoroughfare.
While Wednesday’s protests saw hotel windows smashed and demonstrators pushed back by tear gas and riot police, Thursday night’s demonstrations unfolded without major incident.
In some cases, citizens positioned themselves as buffers between the angriest demonstrators and the police.
“All we need is to let people know, stop killing God’s people,” one man shouted as he stood, raised above the cheering crowd.
Mayor Jennifer Roberts signed a midnight curfew order early in the evening, but as the deadline came and went, protesters showed few signs of dispersing.
At least 100 people continued to make their way through the streets, and police suggested the curfew would be enforced only if there were trouble.
“We hope things remain peaceful,” said Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Capt. Mike Campagna.
By 12:30 a.m., police had made no curfew-related arrests.
The night was not entirely without incident. Two officers were “sprayed with a chemical agent by demonstrators” and receiving medical attention, the Police Department said on Twitter without providing more details.
The family of the slain man, 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott, on Thursday was allowed to watch police videos of the killing, and an attorney for the family urged officials to make the footage public.
But Police Chief Kerr Putney said he had no intention of doing so.
“Transparency is in the eye of the beholder,” he told reporters. “If you think I say we should display a victim’s worst day for public consumption, that is not the transparency I’m speaking of.”
Police have said that Scott emerged from his vehicle with a gun and refused orders to drop it; Scott’s family members contend that he was not armed.
The ensuing unrest has left more than a dozen police and civilians injured and one protester dead.
By early Thursday evening, military Humvees were parked in the streets.
A crowd of hundreds worked its way from the area of the county courthouse and jail, west on East 4th Street and up North College Street, converging with another, smaller crowd gathered by the Omni Hotel.
“We want the tape,” marchers yelled, calling for the release of video showing Tuesday’s shooting by police. “If we don’t get no justice, they don’t get no peace!”
They passed officers in neon-yellow shirts blocking the entrance to the Charlotte Transit Center.
The protesters, a racially diverse group primarily in their 20s and 30s, paused by the site of the shooting before 10 p.m. as a small group lighted memorial candles outside the Omni.
“Justice is not justification,” read a sign one protester held. “White silence = neglect,” said another sign.
Protesters headed down Main Street toward Interstate 277, aiming to shut down the highway. A few dozen reached the highway around the same time dozens of police emerged from vans in riot gear and fired tear gas.
Protesters fled across the highway as a helicopter flew overhead.
Not far away, a protestor prayed with a police officer and a marcher stopped to hug a guardsman.
Two musicians — one black, one white — had set up an amp and were playing covers of pop songs, including DNCE’s “Cake By The Ocean.” They said they were playing for peace in Charlotte.
The curfew was scheduled to run through 6 a.m. The city said it would be in effect each day until the city revokes it or lifts its state of emergency.
“We cannot tolerate any type of violence,” North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory said at a news conference Thursday.
“We’re not going to let a few hours give a negative impact on a great city,” the Republican governor said.
Many businesses remained closed Thursday as major corporations — Wells Fargo and Bank of America among them — urged employees to stay away from their downtown offices. Cleanup crews and volunteers worked overnight to board up damaged buildings and sweep shards of glass from sidewalks. Protesters had thrown rocks at hotel and restaurant windows and sprayed “Black lives matter” on a wall outside a Hyatt hotel.
Meanwhile, a North Carolina congressman apologized Thursday for a statement he made in an interview with the BBC, in which he said the violence in Charlotte stems from protesters who “hate white people because white people are successful, and they’re not.”
Rep. Robert Pittenger, a Republican whose district includes parts of the city beset by protests, said later it was his “anguish” over the violence that led him to respond “in a way that I regret.”
Sharply different narratives have emerged not only around the original police shooting, but on the protests it sparked.
Police said one protester, 26-year-old Justin Carr, was shot Wednesday and died the next day.
“Don’t know how to feel!” his mother, Ann Carr, posted on Facebook on Thursday before he died.
“My baby is fighting for his Life! Please if your gonna protest do it peacefully! My baby was shot in the head for no apparent reason!”
The victim was shot by another civilian, the city said on its Twitter account.
Several protesters, however, said they saw police fire rubber bullets that hit the man.
Two officers were left with minor eye injuries, three officers were treated for heat-related conditions, and eight civilians were injured, Putney said. Police arrested 44 protesters for failure to disperse, assault, and breaking and entering.
“This has been a difficult couple of days for the city of Charlotte,” Mayor Roberts said at a news conference Thursday. “The events that we saw last night are not the Charlotte that I know and love. In Charlotte we have a long tradition of working together to solve our problems, of working collaboratively, and I urge everyone to continue that tradition.”
Demonstrators clashed with police outside a downtown Charlotte, N.C., hotel in protest of Tuesday’s fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott.
Roberts pledged that the city would conduct a thorough investigation into the shooting. “It’s important that we have a full and transparent investigation of the original incident and we are working very hard in a collaborative way to ensure the integrity of that investigation.”
North Carolina’s State Bureau of Investigation has already begun to investigate Scott’s shooting to determine whether charges should be filed against the officer who shot him. The local district attorney’s office said in a statement that it has been in contact with the FBI and U.S. Justice Department, providing them “information to assist with their review of the matter.”
The shooting was captured on police video by a body camera and a dashboard camera.
Justin Bamberg, an attorney for the Scott family, released a statement Thursday saying that the videos show that Scott calmly followed orders to exit his vehicle and that it was impossible to see whether he was holding anything.
He was shot while slowly walking backward with his hands at his side, the statement said.
Bamberg urged police to make the videos public.
Scott did not own a handgun, let alone carry one, Bamberg said.
“We still don’t know if there was or was not a gun even there,” he said. “There are witnesses who are saying that no gun was there. There are witnesses who say that a gun was put there. There are witnesses who say that a gun may have been pulled out of the car. There is too much talk. We are here to get answers.”
Putney said the police video did not give him “absolute definitive visual evidence” that would confirm that a person is pointing a gun. But the “totality of all other evidence” supported “the version of the truth” that the police had given about Scott’s death, he said.
“There’s your truth, my truth and the truth. Some people have already made up their minds about what happened,” he said.
Scott was confronted Tuesday by police outside a Charlotte condominium complex.
Brentley Vinson, the officer police identified as having shot Scott, is also black. He has been placed on administrative leave, a routine procedure following an officer-involved shooting.
Police say Vinson was at a University City apartment complex looking for a suspect with an outstanding warrant — not Scott — but came upon Scott shortly before 4 p.m. Scott got out of the truck with a gun, according to police, then got back in the truck. Police said that they told Scott to drop the gun but that he got back out of the vehicle with the gun and “posed an imminent deadly threat” before the officer shot him.
Kaleem reported from Charlotte. Special correspondent Jarvie reported from Atlanta.
9:55 p.m.: The article was updated with additional details about the night’s events.
9:35 p.m.: The article was updated with details of events after imposition of the midnight curfew.
9:13 p.m.: This article has been updated to report that the midnight curfew had gone into effect but that protesters showed little sign of dispersing.
8:55 p.m.: This article has been updated with more scenes from the protest.
8:25 p.m.: This article has been updated with on-scene reporting from the protest.
7 p.m.: The article was updated with comments from the mayor.
6:48 p.m.: This article has been updated with more on-scene reporting.
6 p.m.: This article has been updated with information on the death of a protester and comments from a family lawyer who viewed video footage of Scott’s shooting.
3:45 p.m.: This article has been updated throughout with additional information from officials and on-scene reporting.
1:25 p.m.: This article was updated with details, including that the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation has joined the investigation.
The story was originally posted at 10:20 a.m.
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