New protests rock Char­lotte

Man wounded as N.C. of­fi­cials try to quell un­rest

Baltimore Sun - - FRONT PAGE - By Jef­frey Collins

CHAR­LOTTE, N.C. — Au­thor­i­ties tried to quell pub­lic anger and cor­rect what they char­ac­ter­ized as false in­for­ma­tion Wed­nes­day as Char­lotte dealt with a sec­ond night of vi­o­lent protests, adding it­self to the list of U.S. cities,, in­clud­ing Bal­ti­more, that have erupted in vi­o­lence over the death of a black man at the hands of po­lice.

One man was shot and crit­i­cally in­jured as pro­test­ers gath­ered near po­lice in riot gear at a down­town ho­tel Wed­nes­day night.

The man was not shot by a po­lice of­fi­cer, the city said on Twit­ter.

A short time later, po­lice be­gan fir­ing flash grenades at pro­test­ers who were throw­ing fire­works at them. They then fired tear gas at the hun­dreds of pro­test­ers, dis­pers­ing most of the crowd.

With of­fi­cials re­fus­ing to re­lease video of the shoot­ing of Keith La­mont Scott, two

dif­fer­ent ver­sions emerged: Po­lice say Scott, 43, dis­re­garded re­peated de­mands to drop his gun, while neigh­bor­hood res­i­dents say he was hold­ing a book, not a weapon, as he waited for his son to get off a school bus.

The killing in­flamed racial ten­sions in a city that seemed to have steered clear of the trou­bles that en­gulfed other places.

On Wed­nes­day night, a prayer vigil over the shoot­ing turned into a protest march through down­town.

Hun­dreds of marchers shouted slo­gans like “Hands up; don’t shoot” and “Black lives mat­ter” out­side down­town land­marks.

Gath­er­ings re­mained peace­ful un­til pro­test­ers blocked an in­ter­sec­tion.

Pro­test­ers rushed po­lice, and of­fi­cers fired tear gas to dis­perse the crowd.

The scene was also vi­o­lent Tues­day. Dozens of demon­stra­tors threw rocks at po­lice and re­porters, dam­aged squad cars, closed part of In­ter­state 85, and looted and set on fire a stopped truck.

Au­thor­i­ties also used tear gas to break up the protests. Six­teen of­fi­cers suf­fered mi­nor in­juries. One per­son was ar­rested.

The vi­o­lence Tues­day broke out shortly af­ter a woman who ap­peared to be Scott’s daugh­ter posted a pro­fan­ity-laced video on Face­book, say­ing her fa­ther had an un­spec­i­fied dis­abil­ity and was un­armed.

In the footage, she is at the cor­doned-off shoot­ing scene, yelling at of­fi­cers.

“My daddy is dead!” the woman screams on the video, which has not been authen­ti­cated by the As­so­ci­ated Press.

On Wed­nes­day, as Char­lotte’s white mayor and black po­lice chief stood at City Hall and ap­pealed for calm, AfricanAmer­i­can lead­ers who said they were speak­ing for Scott’s fam­ily held their own news con­fer­ence near where he was killed Tues­day, re­mind­ing the crowd of other shoot­ings and abuses of black men.

John Bar­nett, who runs a civil rights group called True Heal­ing Un­der God, or THUG, warned that the video might be the only way for the po­lice to re­gain the com­mu­nity’s trust.

“Just telling us this is still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion is not good enough,” he said.

But Char­lotte-Meck­len­burg po­lice Chief Kerr Put­ney said: “It’s time to change the nar­ra­tive, be­cause I can tell you from the facts that the story’s a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent as to how it’s been por­trayed so far, es­pe­cially through so­cial me­dia.”

The po­lice chief said of­fi­cers were serv­ing ar­rest war­rants on an­other per­son when they saw Scott get out of a ve­hi­cle with a hand­gun.

A black plain­clothes of­fi­cer in a vest em­bla­zoned with the word “Po­lice” shot Scott af­ter the of­fi­cer and other uni­formed mem­bers of the force made “loud, clear” de­mands that he drop the gun, Put­ney said.

Put­ney was adamant that Scott posed a threat, even if he didn’t point his weapon at of­fi­cers, and said a gun was found next to the dead man.

“I can tell you we did not find a book,” the chief said.

Neigh­bors, though, said that the of­fi­cer who fired was white and that Scott had his hands in the air.

The three uni­formed of­fi­cers had body cam­eras; the plain­clothes of­fi­cer did not, po­lice said.

But the chief said he can­not re­lease the video be­cause the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is still un­der­way.

No cell­phone video has emerged on so­cial me­dia, as hap­pened in other cases around the coun­try.

The plain­clothes of­fi­cer, iden­ti­fied as Brently Vin­son, a two-year mem­ber of the depart­ment, has been placed on leave, which is stan­dard po­lice pro­ce­dure in such cases.

Scott’s mother de­scribed her son as a fam­ily man.

“And he was a lik­able per­son. And he loved his wife and his chil­dren,” Ver­nita Walker told The Char­lotte Ob­server.

Scott has a crim­i­nal record, in­clud­ing con­vic­tions in North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas.

Texas records showed he was con­victed of evad­ing ar­rest with a ve­hi­cle in 2005, and sev­eral months later, of ag­gra­vated as­sault with a deadly weapon.

JEFF SINER/TNS

Pro­test­ers con­front bi­cy­cle of­fi­cers along Trade Street in Char­lotte, N.C., dur­ing the sec­ond day of protests over the shoot­ing of a black man by a white po­lice of­fi­cer.

NI­CHOLAS KAMM/AFP/GETTY IM­AGES

A pro­tester stares at riot po­lice dur­ing a demon­stra­tion against po­lice af­ter the shoot­ing of Keith La­mont Scott.

JEFF SINER/TNS

Pro­test­ers march be­hind a bi­cy­cle of­fi­cer along Trade Street in Char­lotte on Wed­nes­day, the sec­ond day of vi­o­lent protests.

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