[UPDATE: According to WSOC Channel 9, citing sources, the dash camera video shows Keith Scott getting out car, coming toward officers with gun in his hand.]
Police in North Carolina shot and killed a black man they said was armed outside an apartment complex in Charlotte on Tuesday, setting off violent protests that continued late into the night. The officer involved was also black, police told the Washington Post.
A large crowd of demonstrators began gathering near the scene of the shooting Tuesday evening to protest the killing of Keith Lamont Scott, with some people chanting “black lives matter” and “hands up, don’t shoot.” The demonstrations began peacefully, but news reports and posts on social media later showed police in riot gear firing tear gas and rubber bullets at the demonstrators and some people smashing out the windows of police cars.
After midnight, protesters shut down traffic on Interstate 85. Some protesters opened up the backs of tractor trailers, took boxes out and set them on fire in the middle of the highway, WSOC-TV reported. The station spoke to one truck driver who said people took cargo from her trailer.
Police said 12 officers were injured during the demonstrations, one of them hit in the face with a rock. At least seven people were taken from the demonstration and treated for non-life threatening injuries, the Charlotte Observer tweeted.
Officers from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department were looking for a suspect with an outstanding warrant Tuesday afternoon, when they found Scott, 43, sitting a vehicle in the complex’s parking lot, police said in a statement. Scott, who was not the suspect they were seeking, got out of the car holding a “firearm,” then went back in, according to police.
As officers approached, Scott again emerged from the car with the firearm and “posed an imminent deadly threat to the officers who subsequently fired their weapon striking the subject,” police said.
Medics took Scott to the Carolinas Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. Detectives said they recovered a firearm Scott was holding during the shooting and were interviewing witnesses Tuesday night.
A woman who said she was Scott’s daughter said her father was unarmed and reading a book in his car when police shot and killed him. In a widely-circulated Facebook Live video, she said Scott was parked and waiting for a school bus to drop off his son when police arrived. Officers Tasered him, then shot him four times, she said. She added that Scott was disabled.
“My daddy didn’t do nothing. They just pulled up undercover,” she said in the video.
A police spokeswoman declined to comment on the video.
Police identified the officer who shot Scott as Officer Brentley Vinson, who has worked for Charlotte-Mecklenburg police since July 2014. He has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation, which is standard procedure in officer-involved shootings.
Scott is one of at least 702 people who have been fatally shot by police so far this year, 163 of them black men, according to a Washington Post database tracking fatal officer-involved shootings.
Another recent high-profile police shooting in Charlotte occurred in September 2013, when Charlotte-Mecklenburg officers fatally shot Jonathan Ferrell after the black 24-year-old crashed his car in a residential neighborhood several miles from the complex where Scott was killed. Officer Randall Kerrick fired 12 rounds at Ferrell, who was unarmed, striking him 10 times. Police said Ferrell ignored officers’ instructions. Kerrick was acquitted of voluntary manslaughter last year.
The shooting of Scott comes just a day after police in Tulsa, Okla., released video of an officer shooting and killing an unarmed black man who had gotten out of a stalled SUV.
Crutcher, 40, was standing on the side of the road by the broken down vehicle on Friday evening when officers arrived and ordered him to show his hands. Police said they Tasered and shot Crutcher after he refused to obey officers’ commands and reached into the driver’s side window of the SUV. But video released Monday showed Crutcher walking with his hands in the air, and an attorney for the man’s family said the vehicle’s window was rolled up when an officer opened fire on him.
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Derek Hawkins