Gatherings Around Charlotte Mostly Peaceful in Third Night of Protests
Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/TNS via Getty Images(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — As hundreds of demonstrators filled the streets of Charlotte Thursday night to express their anger over Tuesday’s police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, the mayor of North Carolina’s most populous city signed an order for a curfew slated to go into effect at midnight.
But police later said the curfew would not be enforced as long as protests are peaceful — and that was evident, as demonstrators remained in the streets well past midnight without any police intervention.
Before 1 a.m., protesters were laying down in some streets, and marching in others.
The curfew will be lifted at 6 a.m., per Mayor Jennifer Roberts’ order. The curfew is part of a proclamation of a state of emergency, that explains such a measure is necessary “in order to more effectively protect the lives and property of the people within the City of Charlotte.”
Chanting “No Justice, No Peace” and “Don’t Shoot, Hands Up,” protesters began peacefully marching down streets around 7:30 p.m. — surrounded by rifle-carrying National Guard officers — carrying signs that read “End Police Terror,” “Black Lives Matter,” “I Hope I Don’t Killed For Being Black” and “Black Power.”
At 11:31 p.m. police tweeted that there were “no reports of officer or civilian injuries during tonight’s demonstration,” but half an hour later, police tweeted that two officers were being treated by EMS workers after they were sprayed with a chemical agent by demonstrators.”
The protest began around the same time that attorneys for Scott’s family said they had watched police video of Scott’s shooting, but were unable to ascertain if Scott indeed had a gun in his hands.
“After watching the videos, the family again has more questions than answers,” a statement from the family’s attorney’s read. “When told by police to exit his vehicle, Mr. Scott did so in a very calm, non-aggressive manner. While police did give him several commands, he did not aggressively approach them or raise his hands at members of law enforcement at any time. It is impossible to discern from the videos what, if anything, Mr. Scott is holding in his hands.”
Despite demands from the family and community for police to release dashcam and body camera footage to the public, police are resisting such a move.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said the footage of Scott’s killing could undermine the investigation. The video will be made public when he believes there is a “compelling reason” to do so, he told reporters Thursday.
“You shouldn’t expect it to be released,” he added. “I’m not going to jeopardize the investigation.”
At one point during the evening, protesters stopped to block an intersection near Bank of America’s headquarters and chanted “release the tape,” but when police and the National Guard moved in, protesters moved on.
Bank of America — along with Wells Fargo and Duke Energy — told its employees to stay out of Charlotte.
Protesters also descended upon I-277, as they did the previous two nights. Riot gear-wearing police managed to move protesters off I-277 after dispersing tear gas, according to WSOC. Pepper spray was also used.
Thursday night’s protest also kicked off shortly after Charlotte police confirmed that a man shot by another civilian during Wednesday night’s protests had died, and that a homicide investigation has been launched. Police identified the victim as Justin Carr, 26.
A candlelight vigil was set up to remember Carr.
“Detectives with the Homicide Unit canvassed the area to determine whether there were any witnesses to this incident,” Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said in a statement of Carr’s death. “Crime Scene Search responded to the call for service to process the scene and collect physical evidence. This is an ongoing, active investigation.”
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