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North Carolina Police Shooting Sparks Protest

  • VOA News

Police officers wearing riot gear block a road during protests after police fatally shot Keith Lamont Scott in the parking lot of an apartment complex in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 20, 2016.

Police officers wearing riot gear block a road during protests after police fatally shot Keith Lamont Scott in the parking lot of an apartment complex in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 20, 2016.

Protesters clashed with police and shut down a major highway overnight in the eastern U.S. city of Charlotte, North Carolina after a black officer fatally shot a black man at an apartment complex. The clashes left about two dozen people injured, including 12 officers.

Police said the shooting happened Tuesday afternoon as officers were looking for someone else and saw 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott get out of a car with a gun.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney told reporters that the officer who shot Scott felt he posed an "imminent threat" and that a gun was recovered at the scene. Police declined to provide details about the make and model of the weapon.

The Village at College Downs apartments, Charlotte, North Carolina

The Village at College Downs apartments, Charlotte, North Carolina

Family members said Scott was unarmed. A woman who identified herself as Scott's daughter said her father was simply reading a book in his car when he was shot dead by police.

A widely circulated Facebook Live video shows the daughter saying Scott was waiting for the bus that takes his son to school when police arrived, Tasered him and shot him four times. She also Scott was disabled. Police have declined requests to comment on the video.

The officer who shot Scott has been identified as Brentley Vinson. He has been placed on administrative leave, as required in cases involving police shootings.

​The protests began shortly after the shooting and extended into Wednesday. Police in riot gear tried to control the crowds and at one point used tear gas. Video from a local television station in Charlotte showed some demonstrators looting trucks that were forced to stop along a stretch of Interstate 85.

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts said on Twitter the "community deserves answers" and pledged a "full investigation."

Chants from protesters included the refrain "hands up, don't shoot" that has been heard in places all over the United States during the past few years in response to the use of deadly force by police.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his rival, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton tweeted their reaction to the shooting.

A police officer attempts to extinguish a fire on the I-85 (Interstate 85) during protests following the death of a man shot by a police officer on Sept. 21, 2016 in Charlotte, NC.

A police officer attempts to extinguish a fire on the I-85 (Interstate 85) during protests following the death of a man shot by a police officer on Sept. 21, 2016 in Charlotte, NC.


The latest shooting in Charlotte brings the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department back into the national spotlight. Three years ago, a white officer was charged with manslaughter for shooting an unarmed African American man, but eventually reached a financial separation agreement with the city after the judge declared a mistrial.

Scott is among an estimated 702 people who have been shot dead by law enforcement officers so far in 2016, according to Washington Post statistics, which say 163 of the victims were African American men.

Another demonstration took place Tuesday outside police headquarters in the midwestern city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, where on Friday a white officer killed an unarmed black man standing next to his car.

Police officers wearing riot gear block a road during protests after police fatally shot Keith Lamont Scott in the parking lot of an apartment complex in Charlotte, North Carolina, Sept. 20, 2016.

Police officers wearing riot gear block a road during protests after police fatally shot Keith Lamont Scott in the parking lot of an apartment complex in Charlotte, North Carolina, Sept. 20, 2016.

A lawyer for the officer who killed Terence Crutcher said she also feared for her life and fired when Crutcher reached through a window into the car.

Crutcher's family disputed that account Tuesday, presenting images from video released by police that they said showed the window was closed. They are calling for action to be taken against the officer.

Crutcher's twin sister, Tiffany, told CNN she is hopeful something positive can come out of her brother's death. "We're hopeful that America will open their eyes, everybody, and see there's an issue, a systemic issue, that needs to be solved. And we're pleading with the leadership of this country, everyone, just to see that and lets put some systems in place to prevent this from happening again."

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