The mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina appeals for calm after a night of violent protests and looting sparked by the fatal police shooting of a black man said to have been armed with a handgun. Residents of the neighborhood where Keith Lamont Scott was shot described the moments after the incident occurred.
Neighbours react to police shooting in North Carolina
Appeal for calm after US police shooting sparks unrest Charlotte (United States) – 21 September 2016 09:07 – AFP (Michael Mathes) / WRAP The mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina appealed for calm Wednesday after a night of violent protests and looting sparked by the fatal police shooting of a black man said to have been armed with a handgun.Police said 16 officers and several demonstrators were injured in clashes after the shooting death of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott, the latest in a string of police involved killings that have fueled outrage across the United States.”We are calling for peace, we are calling for calm, we are calling for dialogue,” Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts said. “We understand that with these events everyone has different viewpoints and perspectives.””That makes it even more important for us to treat each other with dignity and respect and to wait until we have all the information.”The shooting occurred at 4:00 pm Tuesday in the parking lot of an apartment complex in Charlotte after officers arrived in search of a suspect wanted for arrest, police said.They spotted a man with a handgun — later identified as Scott — exit and then reenter a vehicle, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police chief Kerr Putney told journalists.Officers approached the man and loudly commanded him to get out and drop the weapon, at which point Scott exited the vehicle armed, according to police.”He stepped out, posing a threat to the officers, and officer Brentley Vinson subsequently fired his weapon, striking the subject,” the police chief said.Putney added, however, that he did not know that Scott “definitively pointed the weapon specifically towards an officer.”Carrying a firearm is legal under local “open carry” gun laws.- Divergent accounts -Scott’s relatives told local media that he was not carrying a gun, but had a book in his hands when he was gunned down, which police disputed.”I can tell you a weapon was seized. A hand gun,” Putney said. “I can also tell you we did not find a book that has been made reference to.”Putney said Vinson, who joined the force in 2014, was in plain clothes but wearing a vest carrier emblazoned with the police logo, and was backed up by three officers in full uniform.He said Vinson was not wearing a body camera, but the other officers were.”The videos that I’ve reviewed I cannot see in totality everything that occurred,” Putney said.- Protests turn violent -Demonstrations began in Charlotte Tuesday evening and as news of the shooting spread, protesters gathered, carrying signs that read “Black Lives Matter” and chanting “No justice, no peace!”Putney said the situation turned violent within about two hours with “agitators” damaging police vehicles and throwing rocks at police officers.A local television station reported that looters attempted to break into a Walmart store — some throwing rocks and shattering glass doors. Riot control police were called out and used tear gas to disperse the crowd, Putney said.Despite that, a group of protesters marched to a major highway early Wednesday, and shut down traffic in both directions. They broke into the back of truck and set goods on fire, according to police.- Series of shootings -Roberts, Charlotte’s mayor, said she was in touch with the White House along with state and local leaders. The city was preparing to handle more potential demonstrations by bolstering its police presence.”We all see this as a tragedy,” the mayor said. “We all want to work toward a peaceful community. We know that we have work to do.”The violence comes just days after another police shooting, captured on video, of an unarmed black man in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Together, they are the latest in a series of police shootings — from Baton Rouge, Louisiana to St. Paul, Minnesota — that have left the African American community demanding law enforcement reforms and greater accountability.The fatal shooting in Tulsa last Friday of Terence Crutcher was recorded by police car dashboard cameras and a police helicopter camera. Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan, in releasing the footage to the public Monday, called it disturbing and “very difficult to watch.” In the video, the 40-year-old Crutcher is seen with his hands up, appearing to comply with police officers and leaning against his car. He is then shot once by officer Betty Shelby, and falls to the ground. Another officer fires his stun gun. The US Department of Justice said on Monday it would conduct a federal civil rights probe, an investigation parallel to the one local authorities in the state are carrying out.”It’s just continuation of the same thing, over and over and over again,” Crutcher’s father, Joey Crutcher, told CNN Wednesday morning in the immediate aftermath of the Charlotte protests. “And it’s perpetuated against people of color more than anything else.”