Protests in North Carolina injure police officers, commuters.
A day after the eruption of violent protests in Charlotte, North Carolina after a policeman shot an African-American in University City area, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police made clarifications on the incident, on Wednesday.
According to a report in Charlotte Observer, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said in a press conference that Keith Lamont Scott, who was killed by a policeman on Tuesday, had a gun in his hand while he was shot.
Putney clarified that the police couldn’t find the book which Scott was holding while he was shot, as claimed by the social media.
“I can tell you we did not find a book that has been referenced to. We did find a weapon. The weapon was there and witnesses have corroborated it, beyond just the officers,” Putney said.
The police were searching for someone who had an outstanding warrant when they spotted Scott getting into his car with a handgun in his hand. The officers approached him and asked him to put the gun down, which he refused to do.
According to the police, Scott got out of his car with the weapon and they shot him as they thought that he posed a deadly threat to the officers.
“The officers immediately requested Medic and began performing CPR,” a police statement said.
Though Scott was rushed to Carolinas Medical Center, he was brought in dead. The officer who shot him has been identified as Brentley Vinson who is also a black.
As Vinson was not wearing a camera at the time of the incident, the police are not sure whether Scott had pointed the gun at the officers.
However, the police are viewing the video from the University City apartment complex where Scott was killed.
The incident has triggered the sentiments of the black community in Charlotte where violent protests erupted on Tuesday night. Sixteen police officers and 85 motorists were injured on Tuesday when the protestors throw stones, traffic cones, and bottles.
They held placards showing “Stop Killing Us” and “Black Lives Matter.”
The protestors blocked Interstate 85 and damaged many vehicles by throwing stones, and bottles at them. Some tractor trailer trucks were looted and some protestors set some items collected from the vehicles on fire. A Walmart store on North Tryon was also robbedTuesday midnight.
Though some protesters requested their fellows to remain calm, the mob threw stones, and water bottles at police lines. Finally, the police had to deploy tear gas to disperse the demonstrators who damaged two police vehicles.
“When will our lives truly matter? A black father is dead. There are children tonight who will never see their father again,” said Mack, president of the Charlotte chapter of the NAACP told CNN.
“It clearly appears as if our lives don’t matter. We need to change policies. We need to change procedure. We need to hold police accountable. It’s a modern-day lynching. Charlotte is not a good place right now; we’re in the throes of this problem,” Mack added.
Even the repeated appeals of the leaders couldn’t calm down the protestors. Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts appealed the people to remain calm and asked not to jump to conclusions before knowing the facts.
“The community deserves answers and full investigation will ensue. Will be reaching out to community leaders to work together,” Roberts tweeted.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory said on Wednesday that he would extend every support to the mayor and the police.
“We will do everything we can to support the mayor and the police chief in their efforts to keep the community calm and to get this situation resolved,” McCrory said in a statement.
“My prayers are with the Scott family and also our law enforcement, especially the 16 police officers who were injured last night,” he added.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police has decided to deploy more officers as they are expecting more protests on Wednesday. “We’ll be prepared for whatever we see…We’re hoping for best but will be prepared for the worst,” police chief Putney said.