Peaceful protests in Uptown Charlotte rapidly turned chaotic and violent Wednesday night as anger over a police officer’s fatal shooting of a black man in north Charlotte boiled over.
One person was shot and taken to the hospital in critical condition near the intersection of College and Trade streets, the city said. The city said the person was not shot by police. At least two other people were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, Medic said. At least four police officers were injured as well, the police department said.
Protests began peacefully in Marshall Park on Wednesday afternoon before moving to the Center City. Live video and social media accounts from the scene showed numerous explosions, cars and windows being smashed at the Ritz Carlton, and police using tear gas and paintballs in front of the Omni hotel to try to disperse the crowd.
By the end of the night, Gov. Pat McCrory had declared a state of emergency and deployed the National Guard.
The second night of protests came after Charlotte police officials offered only a few new details on the officer-involved shooting, while city leaders spent the day urging the community to keep calm and wait for answers.
On Tuesday afternoon, a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officer shot and killed 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott, who is black, near his home in north Charlotte.
Police said he had a gun and was a threat to officers. Scott’s family said he was simply reading a book while waiting for his kids to get home from school. Protests immediately erupted, and 16 police officers were injured Tuesday evening.
Here’s what we learned on Wednesday.
CMPD Chief Kerr Putney offered a slightly updated version of the police version of events. There may also be video of the incident.
In a press conference, Putney said that detectives recovered a gun at the scene, and did not find a book. Putney said he could not say whether the gun was pointed at officers.
He also said that while Officer Brentley Vinson — an African-American officer who fired the fatal shot — was not wearing a body camera, three uniformed officers at the scene were. Putney said this morning that he had not reviewed all the video.
Mayor Jennifer Roberts said on CNN that the police department would be showing video of the incident to elected officials and community leaders. No video has emerged publicly at this time, and police have indicated it won’t be publicly released.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is operating under “emergency staffing conditions,” University City Partners said, which means all officers are on duty and working shifts of 12 hours on, 12 hours off.
Keith Scott was remembered as a loving husband.
A statement from Scott’s wife, Rakeyia, described him as a “loving husband, father, brother and friend.” The family said they had more questions about the incident after hearing from Chief Putney, and said they would share more about Scott’s life in the coming days. In the meantime, they asked people to respect their privacy.
— Morgan Fogarty (@MorganFogarty) September 21, 2016
Charlotte leaders urged peace.
Numerous political and community leaders spent Wednesday urging peace. Most of them cited the need to support peaceful protests while working together.
In a phone message sent to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ 164,000-plus students, Superintendent Ann Clark said the district would supports its students emotional needs and urged peace.
“I have worked for CMS for more than 30 years. Over and over, I have seen our community come together and address tough and divisive issues productively,” Clark said. “I believe this community has the will and the ability to do that now. Please join me in showing our children and the nation that even in our differences we can stand together peacefully.”
Charlotte canceled events and urged businesses to take precautions.
The city of Charlotte canceled a new citizen naturalization ceremony planned for Wednesday evening, and the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization canceled its meeting as well.
The metal band Sevendust canceled its show planned for Amos’ Southend.
The Charlotte Chamber and University City Partners urged businesses to remove or chain down tables, chairs, signs or planters, and to bring on extra private security.
Charlotte Area Transit System closed the Transit Center and ended light rail service at Carson Station, south of Uptown.
Mayor Jennifer Roberts will be on WFAE’s Charlotte Talks at 9 a.m. to discuss the incident.