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Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Charlotte: "DROP GUN" Don't Get Shot!
Warned suspect to drop gun before shooting which triggered riots, hurt 16 officers
Charlotte police warned 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott again and again to drop his handgun before an officer shot and killed him, the police chief announced Wednesday morning, after riots damaged patrol cars and injured at least 16 officers.
Police Chief Kerr Putney said during a news conference that officers were searching for a suspect Tuesday when they saw Scott exit a vehicle with a handgun at an apartment complex on the city's northeast side. "The officers gave loud, clear verbal commands which were also heard by many of the witnesses. They were instructing the subject, once he got out of the vehicle, to drop the weapon... Mr. Scott exited his vehicle armed with a handgun as the officers continued to yell at him to drop it."
Putney said Officer Brentley Vinson shot Scott because the man posed a threat. Vinson is black, as was Scott.
A woman claiming to be Scott's daughter said in a video posted on Facebook that her father was unarmed and had a book, not a gun. Police say they found no book at the scene.
The police chief said officers requested medical help and performed CPR on Scott. Vinson has been placed on administrative leave while the shooting is investigated, police said. He's been with the department for two years.
Meanwhile, An outspoken leader of the Nation of Islam, B.J. Murphy, called for an economic boycott of Charlotte at a news conference of black leaders, saying if black lives don't matter, black money shouldn't matter.
The police chief said 16 officers sustained minor injuries during protests Tuesday night and that one person has been arrested.
TV footage early Wednesday showed dozens of protesters on Interstate 85 apparently looting semi-trucks and setting their contents on fire on the highway.
Tuesday night, a larger group of demonstrators gathered near the scene of the shooting. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department tweeted that demonstrators were destroying marked police vehicles and that approximately 12 officers had been injured, including one who was hit in the face with a rock. Photos and TV video showed police firing tear gas to break up the crowd. Some officers were in riot gear.
Broken glass and rocks littered the ground where one police car had been vandalized. Less than 5 miles away, wooden pallets barricaded the entrance of a Walmart that had apparently been looted.
The unrest in Charlotte came just hours after another demonstration in Tulsa, Oklahoma, over the shooting there of an unarmed black man by police.
Charlotte police officers went to the complex about 4 p.m. looking for a suspect with an outstanding warrant when they saw Scott — who was not the suspect they were looking for — inside a car, department spokesman Keith Trietley said.
Officers saw Scott get out of the car with a gun and then get back in, Trietley said. When officers approached, the man exited the car with the gun again. At that point, officers deemed the man a threat and at least one fired a weapon, he said.
Scott was taken to Carolinas Medical Center and pronounced dead.
Police blocked access to the area, which is about a mile from the campus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, as protesters gathered after the shooting.
Some protesters were heard yelling "Black lives matter," and "Hands up, don't shoot!" One person held up a sign saying "Stop Killing Us."
Other footage showed protesters lingering around a police vehicle after shattering its windows.
One television news crew retreated from the scene after demonstrators began rocking their remote van, which was parked near the apartment complex where the shooting occurred.
Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts appealed for calm and tweeted that "the community deserves answers."
In Tulsa, hundreds of people rallied outside police headquarters calling for the firing of police officer Betty Shelby, who shot 40-year-old Terence Crutcher on Friday during a confrontation in the middle of a road that was captured on police dashcam and helicopter video.
Shelby's attorney has said Crutcher was not following the officers' commands and that Shelby was concerned because he kept reaching for his pocket as if he were carrying a weapon. An attorney representing Crutcher's family says Crutcher committed no crime and gave officers no reason to shoot him.
Local and federal investigations into that shooting are ongoing.