Unrest in Charlotte after protests ignited by police shooting

Civil rights group calls for more protests

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A chaotic scene erupted in north Charlotte Tuesday night after an African-American man was shot and killed in an officer-involved shooting.

Police said they had been searching for someone who had an outstanding warrant at The Village at College Downs complex on Old Concord Road when they saw Keith Lamont Scott leave his car holding a gun.

CMPD said Scott got out, had a gun on him, and put the officers in imminent danger. Officer Brentley Vinson shot Scott. Both men were African-American, a police official said.

"Man was in his truck, reading a book waiting for his kid to come home," said a man on scene. "Cops shot him, for nothing."

Emergency services were called to the scene where they transported Scott to Carolinas Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

"As is standard procedure with any officer-involved shooting, Officer Vinson has been placed on paid Administrative Leave," the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said in a statement Tuesday night.

Detectives recovered a firearm at the scene and were interviewing witnesses, CMPD also said.

CMPD Chief Kerr Putney and Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts addressed the media Wednesday about the shooting and protests from Tuesday. 

"It's time to change the narrative, because I can tell you from the facts that the story is a little bit different as to how it has been portrayed so far, especially through social media," Putney said.

Putney said Scott exited his car with a gun, then got back in the car. Officers instructed him to drop the gun. As he got out again, officers fired shots. Putney also said officers seized a gun from the scene, but they did not find a book, which family members have referenced. 

Officer Vinson was in plain clothes and was not wearing a body camera, according to Putney. The officers in uniform on the scene were wearing body cameras, but it does not give a full picture of what happened. 

 "I don't know that he (Keith Scott) definitively pointed a weapon at an officer" but he says Scott did have a gun. "The video that I have reviewed, I can not see in totality, everything that occurred."

 

Police blocked access to the area, which is about a mile from the campus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, as protesters gathered after the shooting.

Some protesters were heard yelling "Black lives matter," and "Hands up, don't shoot!" One person held up a sign saying "Stop Killing Us."

Other footage showed protesters lingering around a police vehicle after shattering its windows.

"We understand there may be continuing protests. We are calling for peace, calm and for dialogue" Mayor Jennifer Roberts said.

Earlier, a tow truck was brought in to take another police cruiser away.

CMPD Chief Kerr Putney said 16 police officers were injured in clashes with people protesting the shooting overnight.

Around 3 a.m. the demonstrators had shut down all lanes of Interstate 85 northbound and started a fire on the highway, before being dispersed by police. The interstate reopened around 4 a.m. 

Protestors also looted the Walmart on North Tryon Street around 3:30 a.m. The store was closed early Wednesday with wooden pallets piled in front of the doors.

A man who said he's the brother of Scott said to NBC Charlotte this evening:

"He was waiting on his son to get from school and police came out with no...he didn't have on no uniform to determine if he was a police or not -- he was an undercover and he just jumped out and yelled 'gun' and shot at him," he told NBC Charlotte's Tanya Mendis. "I think they shot him four times, I'm not sure, but he's dead."

Hostility among the community grew quickly as word of what happened spread. A woman saying she was the man's daughter posted a video on Facebook Live from the scene.

"Shot my Daddy for being black! And look they're just standing there."

As night fell, a massive crowd of people gathered on Old Concord Road, chanting in protest after another officer-involved shooting where Scott was killed.
 

"People get upset when we say 'black lives matter, black lives matter,' said a student. "But these are the people we have to focus on the most because these types of situations always happen."

The CMPD took to Twitter as the crowds of protesters grew. They said, "several officers injured tonight working to protect our community during demonstration."

NBC Charlotte's Mike Hanson reported around 11:45 p.m. that the CMPD deployed flash bangs and tear gas upon protesters.

Mayor of Charlotte, Jennifer Roberts, also tweeted in response to the protesters.

"I will continue to work with our mayor & Chief on officer involved shooting. We are reaching out to community to ask for calm," and that, "the community deserves answers and full investigation will ensue. Will be reaching out to community leaders to work together," she tweeted.

Stay with WCNC.com for the latest on this breaking story.

Copyright 2016 WCNC


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