CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA —
The police chief of the southeastern U.S. city of Charlotte, North Carolina, said Friday the video police recorded during the fatal shooting of an African-American man will eventually be released.
"It’s a matter of when, and it’s a matter of sequence," Chief Kerr Putney said at a news conference. "I want to be more thoughtful and deliberate in delivering the whole story."
Separately, the family of Keith Lamont Scott released cellphone video images that Scott's wife, Rakeyia, recorded in the moments leading up to his death Tuesday.
The cellphone video does not show whether Scott was brandishing a gun when he was being confronted by officers; however, his wife can be heard pleading with officers not to shoot him, and for her husband to get out of his vehicle.
She is heard calling out insistently that he is unarmed, while police demand that Scott "drop the gun." Gunshots then ring out, and Scott can be seen lying prone in the street.
Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in Charlotte for a fourth night Friday to protest the shooting.
Helicopters circled above the marchers in Charlotte and National Guard troops were seen on many streets. Police had also blocked off several streets frequented by demonstrators during previous marches this past week.
By 9 p.m., protesters had gotten onto a major highway near downtown Charlotte and blocked traffic. Later, the group split up, with many returning to the downtown area.
Hundreds of protesters remained on the streets in the city after the start of a midnight (0400 UTC) curfew. The demonstrators shouted slogans, but the protest remained peaceful, just like the previous night when a curfew was first put in place. Authorities have made no moves to remove the protesters and have said the curfew will not be enforced as long as the demonstrations remain peaceful.
People also marched in other U.S. cities, including Atlanta, Georgia.
WATCH: Video from Friday night protests in Charlotte
Police Chief Putney said the Scott case has been turned over to the State Bureau of Investigation to ensure an independent inquiry. Separately, he announced that an arrest has been made for the fatal shooting of a demonstrator Wednesday night.
Putney's remarks echoed Mayor Jennifer Roberts' stated desire to release the police video to the public. Roberts said earlier that she and other city officials were having discussions with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and state investigators "about how soon we can release" the footage.
In Washington, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, G.K. Butterfield, continued to call for its release, telling CNN, "The public has a right to know what happened on that fateful night.”
National Guard Staff Sergeant Rickey Dixon, who is in charge of the tactical plan to contain protesters, told VOA on Friday, "It's heartbreaking" to see the looting and destruction caused by the protests on Wednesday night, when marchers clashed with police in riot gear.
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That night, police officers fired tear gas to disperse the crowds; some people smashed store windows and set small fires in the streets. The man shot during protests Wednesday night died of his injuries on Thursday.
"It could have been a lot worse, but the city has acted quickly," Dixon said. "I mean there were people sweeping those streets the night of. We’re not going to tolerate any trash here. We’re not going to leave it out there. It’s still the Queen City; we’ll continue to take care of it."
Dixon said the demonstrations were kept calm Thursday night. "Look at last night. The city was allowed to protest and do exactly what they wanted to do – they kept it calm, they kept it peaceful."
But when asked if the type of violence seen Wednesday were to occur again, he said, "The city is prepared for that. We can’t talk about ifs. We will deal with this daily. If a Wednesday night happens again, we will deal with it again."
On Thursday, hundreds of people defied a midnight curfew, marching without incident in the early hours of Friday. Authorities said they had no plans to enforce the curfew as long as the protests remained peaceful.
Video showed some protesters shaking hands with smiling National Guard personnel in the early morning darkness on Friday. Tear gas was used against demonstrators at one location in Charlotte, the state's largest city, but such incidents were rare.
Police in riot gear were dispersed throughout the city.
Governor Pat McCrory, a former Charlotte mayor, had earlier declared a state of emergency, and said police would arrest lawbreakers. "We cannot tolerate any type of violence...or destruction of property," McCrory said.
People from all around North Carolina joined the protests. Cherrell Brown, a Black Lives Matter activist and community organizer who goes by "Carolina Bama" on Twitter, drove from nearby Greensboro to participate in solidarity with Charlotte and the African-American community.
"This isn't new," she told VOA, referring to the protests in Charlotte and the Black Lives Matter movement in general. "This is an iteration of a movement that's been going on for 500 years - since the slaves got off the boat."
Many clergy were present at the rallies, urging calm and peace for all present. Other protesters, however, were seen arguing with preachers, claiming they didn't understand the pain Charlotte residents had suffered and that the demonstrators could not be expected to stay calm.