Protests Break Out in North Carolina After Police Fatally Shoot Black Man
Charlotte Officer Brentley Vinson fatally shot 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott on Tuesday
Violent protests broke out in Charlotte, North Carolina, Tuesday night after a police officer fatally shot an African American man outside an Charlotte apartment complex.
The protests stretched into early Wednesday morning, leaving more than a dozen officers wounded, multiple police cruisers destroyed and leading to an interstate being shut down, police said at a Monday press conference. Police in riot gear deployed tear gas and SWAT officials were on scene as protesters vandalized cars, threw rocks and started small fires, the Associated Press reports.
The demonstrators took to the streets after Officer Brentley Vinson fatally shot 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott on the city’s northeast side, according to a police statement obtained by PEOPLE.
Authorities said Charlotte police were looking for a suspect with an outstanding warrant when they saw Scott – who was not the suspect – in a vehicle just before 4 p.m. at The Village at College Downs apartment complex.
“The subject exited the vehicle armed with a firearm. Officers observed the subject get back into the vehicle at which time they began to approach the subject,” police allege in their statement.
“The subject got back out of the vehicle armed with a firearm and posed an imminent deadly threat to officers who subsequently fired their weapon striking the subject.”
At a Monday press conference, police reiterated the allegation that Scott had a gun. They said Vinson was not wearing a body camera. Other uniformed officers on scene were wearing cameras, but the view from their cameras didn’t capture everything that occurred, police said.
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Scott was pronounced dead later at a hospital and the officer, Vinson, has been placed on paid administrative leave, according to the statement. (Vinson is also black, according to the Mayor’s office, CNN reports.
“Detectives recovered the firearm the subject was holding at the time of the shooting at the scene,” police said in the statement.
Authorities said that detectives with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Homicide Unit are investigating the deadly shooting.
Lyric Scott, who identified herself as Scott’s daughter on social media, recorded the aftermath of the shooting in a lengthy Facebook video, declaring that her father did not have a firearm.
“The police just shot by daddy four times for being black, “she said.
One man on scene told WCNC that Scott was in the vehicle, reading a book and waiting for his son to return from school when the officers approached.
Another man, who identified himself as Scott’s son, echoed the man’s statements to WCNC.
“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 WCNC.
Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, in a pair of Twitter posts, urged the community to keep calm and vowed to investigate the fatal shooting.
“The community deserves answers and full investigation will ensue,” she tweeted on Tuesday. “Will be reaching out to community leaders to work together.”
The death comes just days after police in Tulsa, Oklahoma, fatally shot Terence Crutcher, an unarmed African-American man, as he stood on a highway with his hands up.