Charlotte, North Carolina, descended into an official state of emergency Wednesday evening during the second night of protests and riots sparked by the police shooting of a black man.
Officer Brentley Vinson, who is also black, shot 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott on Tuesday outside a Charlotte apartment building. Police say Scott, who was sitting in a car when police arrived for another matter, refused to drop a gun as he exited the vehicle. Police say they recovered a gun from the scene. Scott's daughter, Lyric Scott, said in a Facebook Live video launched moments after her father was shot, that he was just in the car reading. Some question whether the “gun” was actually a book.
“They shot my daddy 'cause he's black,” she said. "He was sitting in his car reading a motherfucking book. So they shot him. That's what happened.”Protesters are demanding police release dashboard- and body-camera footage of the shooting. Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts told CNN that she plans to review the footage. A police spokesman saw the footage said it does not show police misconduct. Charlotte Police Chief Kerr Putney later said authorities would not release the footage because it would be wrong to show the “victim's worst day” to the public. He added that the video, which Scott's family may be able to watch, does not provide “definitive visual evidence” that Scott pointed a gun at the officer.
In the meantime, the city has erupted with anger and fear, as peaceful protests evolve into moments of violence and vandalism. Reports of buildings being spray-painted with “Black Lives Matter” and looting have pushed Scott's death out of the headlines.
One person was reportedly shot by another civilian during Wednesday night's protests, according to city authorities. The individual is said to be in intensive care. Four police officers also suffered non-life-threatening injuries.Video recorded on Wednesday night also showed moments of indiscriminate violence. A group of what appears to be young men are seen attacking a white man, stripping off his pants, and dragging him through a parking garage. Reports of riots do not provide the full picture of events. Another video shot Wednesday night shows an activist with the Free Hugs Project defusing tensions between police in riot gear and protesters. Online, the unrest in Charlotte triggered a wave of commentary from both sides. Notably, conservative commentator and University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds, better known as Instapundit, discovered his popular Twitter account suspended after he suggested drivers “Run down” protesters who were blocking a highway.
Reynolds' account was later reactivated after he agreed to delete the offending tweet, which he did—only to repost it elsewhere.The University of Tennessee is now investigating the incident.