Protest erupts after police kill black
man in North Carolina
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[September 21, 2016]
By Greg Lacour
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Reuters) - Protesters
blocked a highway and clashed with police in Charlotte, North Carolina,
early on Wednesday morning after officers fatally shot a black man they
said had a gun when they approached him in a parking lot.
About a dozen officers and several protesters suffered non-life
threatening injuries during an hours-long demonstration near where Keith
Lamont Scott, 43, was shot by a policeman on Tuesday afternoon, police
and local media said on social media.
Early Wednesday morning, protesters blocked Interstate 85, where they
stole boxes from trucks and started fires before police used flash
grenades in an attempt to disperse the angry crowd, an ABC affiliate in
A group of protesters then tried to break into a Walmart store before
police arrived and began guarding its front entryway, video footage by
local media showed.
Earlier in the evening, police in riot gear reportedly used tear gas on
protesters who threw rocks and water bottles at them as they wielded
large sticks and blocked traffic. One officer was sent to the hospital
after being struck in the head by a rock, police said.
Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts urged for calm.
"The community deserves answers and (a) full investigation will ensue,"
she said on Twitter, adding in a subsequent post, "I want answers too."
Scott was shot by officer Brentley Vinson earlier in the day, according
to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police. The shooting occurred when officers
were at an apartment complex searching for a suspect with an outstanding
warrant and they saw Scott get out of his vehicle with a firearm, the
Vinson fired his weapon and struck Scott, who "posed an imminent deadly
threat to the officers," the department said in a statement.
Vinson, who joined the Charlotte police force in July 2014, is black,
according to the department. He has been placed on paid administrative
The fatal shooting came amid an intense national debate over the use of
deadly force by police, particularly against black men.
Police did not immediately say if Scott was the suspect they had
originally sought at the apartment complex. WSOC-TV, a local television
station, reported that he was not.
[to top of second column]
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, U.S. September 20,
2016. REUTERS/Adam Rhew/Charlotte Magazine
Detectives recovered the gun Scott was holding at the time of the
shooting and were interviewing witnesses, police said.
Protesters and Scott's family disputed that the dead man was armed.
Some family members told reporters that Scott had been holding a
book and was waiting for his son to be dropped off from school.
Shakeala Baker, who lives in a neighboring apartment complex, said
she had seen Scott in the parking lot on previous afternoons waiting
for his child. But on Tuesday, she watched as medics tended to Scott
after he was shot, she said.
"This is just sad," said Baker, 31. "I get tired of seeing another
black person shot every time I turn on the television. But (police
are) scared for their own lives. So if they’re scared for their
lives, how are they going to protect us?"
About 200 people gathered earlier Tuesday night for a peaceful
protest in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where a white officer killed an unarmed
black man last week in an incident captured on police videos.
Lawyers for the family of Terence Crutcher, 40, disputed that he
posed any threat before he was shot by Tulsa Officer Betty Shelby
after his sport utility vehicle broke down on Friday.
(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Tom Heneghan)
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