Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Person Killed in Charlotte Protests After Fatal Police Shooting of Keith Scott
NBC News

At least one person was shot and killed Wednesday as demonstrators clashed for a second night with police in riot gear in Charlotte, N.C., a day after cops shot and killed a man whose family claimed he was simply reading a book.

The city government confirmed Wednesday night that a civilian was shot and killed. It said the person was shot by a second civilian, not a police officer. No other details were immediately available.

The family of Keith Lamont Scott, 43, who was shot and killed Tuesday near the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, urged protesters to demonstrate peacefully. But demonstrators and cops again faced off Wednesday night, this time outside the Omni Hotel downtown.

Demonstrators had begun dispersing after a planned protest at Charlotte's Marshall Park when some of them tried to enter the Omni and other hotels nearby, police told NBC News.

NBC station WCNC broadcast police taking at least two people into custody. A CNN reporter was knocked to the ground by an unidentified person as he was reporting live on the air.

Concussion grenade blasts could be heard as news reporters urged their colleagues on live TV to flee the area.

Scott's family initially told local news outlets Tuesday that he was disabled and unarmed. They claimed on social media that he had been reading a book.

But Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Police Chief Kerr Putney said at a news conference Wednesday not only that was Scott armed but also that he ignored multiple warnings to drop his weapon before Officer Brentley Vinson fatally shot him.

"The officers gave loud, clear, verbal commands which were also heard by many of the witnesses," Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Police Chief Kerr Putney said at a news conference Wednesday morning, noting that the fatal confrontation unfolded "in a matter of seconds."

Like Scott, Vinson, a two-year veteran of the force, is African-American. In line with department policy, Vinson was placed on paid administrative leave, Putney said.

In a statement released after Putney's remarks Wednesday, Scott's widow, Rakeyia Scott, did not repeat family members' claims that Keith Scott was unarmed.

While she said the family still had "more questions than answers about Keith's death," she said they urged that "people protest peacefully."

"Please do not hurt people or members of law enforcement, damage property or take things that do not belong to you in the name of protesting," Rakeyia Scott said.

Scott had been sitting in his car at The Village at College Downs complex near the University of North Carolina at Charlotte when officers searching for someone else with an outstanding warrant arrived before 4 p.m. ET Tuesday, Putney said.

Police said in a statement that officers saw Scott holding a handgun as he exited his car and returned to his vehicle. He then exited again as officers approached him and posed an "imminent deadly threat," according to the statement.

Putney said officers instructed Scott to "drop the weapon" after he got out of his car, but he failed to comply. He was given aid and taken to Carolinas Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Putney said that Vinson was in plainclothes with a police vest and was not wearing a body camera but that three other officers on the scene did have them. The video was being reviewed along with cruiser dashcam video, and there were no immediate plans to make the videos public, he added.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Wednesday that the Justice Department is "assessing the incident." Federal authorities this week opened a separate investigation into the shooting of an unarmed black man by police in Tulsa, Okla.

This is a developing story. Refresh this page for updates.

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