Officials say hundreds of National Guard troops and police reinforcements have been deployed in Charlotte to help keep the peace after a second night of violent protests over the police shooting of a black man.
Charlotte under emergency after violence flares anew
Charlotte under emergency after violence flares anew Charlotte (United States) – 22 September 2016 12:41 – AFP (Michael Mathes) Hundreds of National Guard troops and police reinforcements were on the ground in Charlotte Thursday to help keep the peace, officials said, after a second night of violent protests over the police shooting of a black man. The tense southern city was placed under a state of emergency amid growing complaints that authorities had been too slow to respond to the hundreds of protesters who took to the streets after the shooting Tuesday of Keith Lamont Scott, a 43-year-old African American. One person was shot and seriously wounded and 44 were arrested as protests swept through downtown Charlotte late Wednesday and early Thursday, triggered by the latest in a string of police-involved killings of black men that have fueled outrage across the United States. In all, nine protesters and two officers were injured as clashes broke out with tear-gas firing riot police, shutting down a transport hub in the city, officials said. North Carolina’s governor declared a state of emergency in Charlotte, activating the national guard and state highway police to reinforce the city’s police force. Charlotte police chief Kerr Putney said several hundred additional guard and troops have been deployed to protect city infrastructure and businesses. “We are going to be a lot more proactive,” he told a news conference. “We made 44 arrests last night because we are not going to tolerate the behavior.” Mayor Jennifer Roberts said earlier that a curfew was under consideration but Putney said he did not intend to impose one unless “we need to clear the streets sooner.” “Right now, we don’t see the need to shut the city down at a specific hour,” he told a news conference. – Shooting video – Scott was shot and killed in an apartment complex parking lot on Tuesday during an encounter with police officers searching for another person wanted for arrest. Conflicting versions of what happened — police say Scott was armed with a handgun while his family says he was holding a book, not a gun — fuelled the angry protests. “It’s a lie,” said Taheshia Williams, whose daughter attends school with the victim’s son. “They took the book and replaced it with a gun.” The authorities have so far refused to release body and dash cam video of the incident, although Putney said police were prepared to show the video to the family. He said the footage “does not give me absolute definitive visual evidence that would confirm that a person is pointing a gun.” The police chief had said previously that a handgun was recovered at the scene, and that contrary to the family’s assertion no book was found. The American Civil Liberties Union has called on police to release the video of the incident, but police argue they cannot release it without harming the integrity of the investigation. – Protesters ‘seething’ – Wednesday night’s protest started out with a peaceful vigil for Scott, but the atmosphere changed dramatically once demonstrators walked to the nearby police headquarters, where a protester pulled the American flag to the bottom of its flagpole. By the time the protesters walked the few blocks to uptown, and encountered riot police standing like statues on Trade Street, the marchers were seething. “It’s too much. It’s too much,” winced one woman, wiping tears from her eyes as she stood before riot police. “We’ve got brothers and sisters and children and fathers who think we’re not going to live to see the next day. Nobody should have to live like that,” she said. Some demonstrators stood on cars and hurled objects at police, who fired tear gas, sending the protesters scattering. “We cannot tolerate violence. We cannot tolerate the destruction of property and will not tolerate the attacks towards our police officers that are occurring right now,” Governor Pat McCrory told CNN after activating the National Guard and the state highway police. Roberts said she was “working to calm things down.” “We have great folks in our community who really want this to be peaceful and want us to have constructive dialogue to move our city forward,” she said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” show. Ahead of Wednesday’s protest, presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton weighed in on the violence in Charlotte, which came on the heels of another fatal police shooting of a black man, Terence Crutcher, on Friday in Tulsa. “Keith Lamont Scott. Terence Crutcher. Too many others. This has got to end. -H,” tweeted Democrat Clinton. After calling to “make America safe again” in a tweet, Trump later suggested that the Tulsa officer who shot Crutcher had “choked.” “I don’t know what she was thinking,” the Republican said, speaking at an African-American church in Cleveland, Ohio. bur-jm/ec