Charlotte unrest: Police shooting leads to rioting, looting; videos released

The shooting death of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday has touched off several days of protest, left 16 police officers injured and re-ignited an ongoing controversy concerning the use of force by law enforcement.

According to police accounts, officers seeking to arrest a man on an outstanding warrant approached the College Downs apartment complex and stumbled onto Scott as he sat in his car.  Police say Scott exited his car with what they suspect was a firearm.  The man then re-entered his car, exited and refused to repeated commands to drop the weapon in his hand. Determining Scott to be a threat, officers fired at Scott; Scott died later at Carolinas Medical Center.

Scott’s weapon was recovered at the scene. The victim had also suffered traumatic injuries after a motorcycle accident in 2015, including to his brain, hips and pelvis. 

In the hours following the shooting, protesters gathered at the site of the shooting and began to demonstrate.  Hours later, crowds swelled and moved north where police officers were surrounded and a Civil Emergency Unit was deployed to extract several vulnerable officers who had been encircled by demonstrators.

Late Tuesday into Wednesday morning, protests occupied the northeast section of Charlotte, shutting down Interstate 85 as vehicles forced to halt on the expressway were looted.

Although police returned to disperse crowds with tear gas, looting broke out elsewhere.

Addressing the media on Wednesday, Charlotte Police Chief Kerr Putney contradicted Scott’s family members, who maintained Scott was holding a book prior to the shooting, but refused to release the dash-cam video which captured the incident.

“There is no definitive visual evidence that he had a gun in his hand — you can see something in the hand — and that he pointed it at an officer. That I did not visually see in the video.  But what we do see is compelling evidence that, when you put all the pieces together, supports that,” Putney told reporters Saturday.

Putney, supported by Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, repeatedly declined to release police footage of the incident, but relented Saturday due to intensive pressure from civic leaders and, in part, to CNN’s release of cell phone video recorded by Scott’s wife, Rakeyia.

Watch both the police and cell phone videos below:


[BBC] [Reuters] [Gateway Pundit] [CNN] [Photo courtesy]