CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP/WNCN) — The Charlotte police chief said 16 officers were injured in protests following the fatal shooting of an armed man Wednesday afternoon.
Charlotte police went to an apartment complex about 4 p.m. looking for a suspect with an outstanding warrant when they saw a man — not the suspect they were looking for — inside a car.
Chief Kerr Putney said Keith Lamont Scott was the man in that vehicle.
Officers saw Scott get out of the car and then get back in.
When officers approached, Scott then exited the car with a handgun and was shot, according to Putney.
“Officers gave loud, clear verbal commands, which were also heard by others nearby,” Putney said.
The chief said evidence collected from the scene is still being processed, including video of the incident. Putney said the officer who shot Scott was not wearing a body camera.
“We did not find a book,” Putney said. “We did find a weapon.” Putney could not confirm if that handgun was loaded.
The streets in Charlotte were quiet Wednesday morning after angry protests over the shooting. Protesters blocked Interstate 85 and looted semi-trucks, setting their contents on fire, Putney said.
“We have a challenge here in Charlotte. People watching how we react. The story is a little bit different than how it is being portrayed on social media,” Putney said.
No protesters could be seen around 5 a.m. but broken glass and rocks littered the ground where a police car had been vandalized during protests earlier. Less than 5 miles away, wooden pallets barricaded the entrance to a Wal-Mart that had apparently been looted.
“I absolutely expect more arrests to be made for those that broke the law,” Putney said.
The protests broke out Tuesday after 43-year-old Scott was fatally shot by a black officer at an apartment complex on the city’s northeast side.
Tuesday morning, the family of Scott held a conference in response to the shooting.
B.J. Murphy with the Nation of Islam called for a economic boycott of the city of Charlotte at that press conference.
“Don’t spend no money on no white folks who don’t respect us,” Murphy said. “We are offended because we don’t get no justice.”
Murphy said a “Black Wall Street” needed to be created in Charlotte.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department tweeted that demonstrators were destroying marked police vehicles.
Putney said a total of 16 officers had been injured, including one who was hit in the face with a rock.
Television coverage showed police firing tear gas to break up the crowd. The protests came just hours after another demonstration in Tulsa, Oklahoma, over the shooting there of an unarmed black man by police.
Officer Brentley Vinson, who shot Scott, has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure in such cases. Vinson has been with the department for two years.
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.
TV footage showed police in riot gear stretched across a two-lane road confronting protesters at the apartment complex later in the night. Some of the officers flanked the main line on one side of the road.
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.
Earlier, a tow truck was brought in to take another police cruiser away. Local media outlets reported that car suffered damage to its rear end.
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 was 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.
Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina called on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department to release any body camera or dashboard camera footage that captured the shooting.
The ACLU acknowledged that a new law will prevent law enforcement agencies from releasing body camera footage without a court order, but pointed out that the law doesn’t take effect until Oct. 1.
“In the interest of transparency and accountability, and particularly in light of conflicting accounts about the shooting, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department should quickly release any and all footage it has of the events leading up to the shooting, as well as the shooting itself,” said Karen Anderson, the executive director of the ACLU of North Carolina, in a statement. “The department should also explain why the officer who shot Mr. Scott was not wearing a body camera.”
Associated Press writers Tom Foreman Jr. and Steve Reed contributed to this report.
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