Charlotte is a city on edge as protests over the police killing of Keith Lamont Scott continued deep into Wednesday night, prompting North Carolina governor Pat McCrory to declare a state of emergency, and activate the state’s national guard. At least one person was critically wounded as protesters and police clashed, with reports of bottles being thrown, and officers firing tear gas and rubber bullets.
Scott, who was black, was killed Tuesday outside a Charlotte apartment complex by police officers who later said they were looking for a different person. According to police, Scott had exited his car armed with a pistol when law enforcement opened fire. However, Scott’s family claims he had simply been reading a book while waiting to pick up his son from school.
During a press conference Thursday morning, Charlotte Police Chief Kerr Putney told reporters he would honor a request from Scott’s family to show them video of the shooting, but had no plans to release footage to the public.
Scott’s death set off a wave of angry reactions across Charlotte, a city in which the 2013 killing of another black man, Jonathan Ferrell, by a white officer, is still fresh in many people’s minds. That officer, Randall Kerrick, was charged with manslaughter, but a jury failed to convict him for Ferrell’s death. Scott’s killing also came just days after police in Tulsa, OK, released footage showing the shooting of Terence Crutcher, who was also black, without any seeming provocation.
At Wednesday night’s protests, armor-clad police assembled, only to be stared down by unarmed protesters, their hands up, calling for accountability after this latest death.
Some carried signs demanding justice, and recognition.
As tensions escalated over the course of the night, glass and blood began peppering the streets.
Police eventually launched tear gas and moved to clear the streets of protesters.
According to CNN, Charlotte mayor Jennifer Roberts has indicated she will consider imposing a curfew on her city should protests continue into the week.