State of emergency called to quell
Charlotte unrest over police shooting of black man
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[September 22, 2016]
By Greg Lacour and Andy Sullivan
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Reuters) - Residents of
Charlotte, North Carolina, woke up to a state of emergency and the
National Guard and State Highway Patrol deployed to their city on
Thursday after a second night of unrest sparked by the fatal police
shooting of a black man.
According to police, Keith Scott, 43, was shot and killed by officers on
Tuesday after he refused to drop a handgun. His family and a witness to
the shooting said Scott was holding a book, not a firearm.
A peaceful rally in response to the shooting turned violent on Wednesday
as protesters threw rocks and bottles at police in riot gear, smashed
windows and doors and looted stores in downtown Charlotte. Officers
fired rubber bullets, tear gas, flash-bang grenades and used pepper
spray to disperse the crowd.
One protester was shot and gravely wounded by a civilian, and four
police officers suffered non-life threatening injuries, city officials
said on Twitter.
Scott's wife, Rakeyia Scott, issued a statement describing her family as
"devastated" and appealing for calm. "We have more questions than
answers about Keith's death," the statement said.
Protesters smashed windows and glass doors at a nearby Hyatt hotel,
whose manager told Reuters that two employees were punched. The slogan
"Black Lives Matter" was spray-painted on windows.
Demonstrators were also seen looting a convenience store after smashing
its windows and a shop that sells athletic wear for fans of Charlotte's
National Basketball League team, the Hornets. Others set fire to trash
It was the second night of unrest in North Carolina's largest city and
one of the biggest U.S. financial centers. Several protesters and 16
officers were injured on Tuesday night.
The turmoil prompted Governor Pat McCrory to declare a state of
emergency and deploy the National Guard and highway patrol officers to
the city to help restore peace.
"Any violence directed toward our citizens or police officers or
destruction of property should not be tolerated," McCrory said in a
Charlotte's mayor Jennifer Roberts was considering a curfew as Bank of
America told employees not to report to work at its uptown offices,
local media reported.
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People run from flash-bang grenades in uptown Charlotte during a
protest of the police shooting of Keith Scott. REUTERS/Jason Miczek
There have also been protests in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in recent days
demanding the arrest of a police officer seen in a video last week
fatally shooting an unarmed black man who had his hands in clear
view at the time.
The deaths add to a torrent of accusations over racial bias in U.S.
law enforcement and calls for greater police accountability for the
killings of black people. A study by the Center for Policing Equity
released in July shows police used force on blacks at rates more
than three times higher than for whites.
President Barack Obama spoke by telephone on Wednesday with the
mayors of Charlotte and Tulsa, a White House official said.
The American Civil Liberties Union urged police to release their
camera footage of the incident. Police vehicles typically have a
dashboard camera and officers are required to carry cameras on their
Roberts said she planned to view the footage on Thursday, but did
not indicate if or when it would be made public.
"We call for the full release of all facts available," said William
Barber, president of the state's chapter of the National Association
for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), in a statement.
Barber said NAACP officials planned to meet with city officials and
members of Scott's family on Thursday.
(Additional reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by
Raissa Kasolowsky/Jeremy Gaunt)
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