Charlotte protests: State of emergency declared after violent clashes
(CNN) – Violent protests raged in Charlotte for the second night over the police shooting of an African-American man, prompting North Carolina’s governor to declare a state of emergency.
One person was on life support after being shot Wednesday night by another civilian during the unrest, the city tweeted. Earlier, the city had said that person had died.
At least four officers suffered injuries not considered life-threatening during Wednesday night’s protests, according to police.
Gov. Pat McCrory said he would deploy the state National Guard and Highway Patrol to Charlotte, North Carolina’s largest city.
“We cannot tolerate violence. We cannot tolerate the destruction of property and will not tolerate the attacks against our police officers that is occurring right now,” McCrory told CNN on Wednesday night.
Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts told CNN she would consider options such as a curfew if the protests continue.
The Charlotte case is the latest in a series of controversial shootings of black men by police.
‘It was madness’
What started off as peaceful descended into chaos Wednesday night, with some protesters overturning trash cans and setting the contents on fire.
Onlookers cheered as a masked man shattered a hotel window while another one hurled rocks through it. Others spray-painted “Black Lives Matter” on business windows and smashed car windows.
“I was right in the thick of it,” witness Zach Locke said. “People found whatever objects they could to break glasses. It was madness.”
Some stores were looted, including the Charlotte Hornets’ NBA store, local media reported.
Freelance photographer Marcus DiPaola told CNN he saw some people knock over an ATM and grab money from it.
The Hyatt House Hotel in downtown went into lockdown as protesters tossed bricks through the window. A valet and front desk attendant were punched in the face by protesters, hotel manager Matt Allen told CNN.
Not all the protests were violent.
Witnesses who attended demonstrations earlier Wednesday evening said they were largely peaceful, but the tone changed markedly throughout the night.
Kristine Slade, 19, a University of North Carolina at Charlotte student, joined the protests Tuesday night, kneeling in front of a police line with her hands up in the air. She said she felt like she had to protest, because “if nobody else is going to do it, then we’re still going to be in the same position.”
But she became increasingly worried Wednesday night as she saw rocks being thrown, fires being set and acts of vandalism.
“It hurts us to see that these buildings are being vandalized and damaged because of the anger and outrage of other citizens when there are clearly other ways to get our point across,” Slade said.
She said she left early when police began efforts to disperse the crowd.
Protesters started to break up after police fired tear gas before 11 p.m. ET.
The second day of protests broke out after the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police chief gave more details on an officer’s fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, the African-American killed Tuesday afternoon at an apartment complex.
The police were trying to serve a warrant for a different man at the complex when the shooting occurred.
Scott’s family has said he was reading a book in his vehicle when police officers approached and shot him. But Chief Kerr Putney said Scott was armed and no book was found at the scene.
Moments after her father was shot, Lyric Scott started recording on Facebook Live, screaming at officers on the scene.
“They shot my daddy ’cause he’s black,” she said. “He was sitting in his car reading a mother******* book. So they shot him. That’s what happened.”
Putney said an African-American officer shot Scott after he refused repeated demands to put down a gun. The chief said the gun was recovered at the scene.
He said evidence and witnesses support the officers’ assertion that Scott was armed.
“It’s time for the voiceless majority to stand up and be heard,” said the police chief, who also is black.
“It’s time to change the narrative because I can tell you from the facts that the story’s a little bit different as to how it’s been portrayed so far, especially through social media,” he said.
Officers repeatedly told Scott to drop his handgun, the chief said, but he didn’t. Officer Brentley Vinson then shot him.
The chief said he was not certain whether Scott pointed his gun at officers.
Vinson, who was in plain clothes and wearing a police vest, did not have a body camera. Three uniformed officers were wearing cameras. There are also dash-cam recordings, and investigators are reviewing the footage, Putney said.
Tensions over police shootings
Just before the Charlotte case, the fatal shooting of Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man in Tulsa, Oklahoma, sparked protests after video of the killing was aired Monday.
Protesters across the country have been demanding justice and an end to police brutality for months.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch acknowledged the country’s racial tensions after the latest police shootings but denounced the violence that erupted in Charlotte.
“Protest is protected by our Constitution and is a vital instrument for raising issues and creating change. But when it turns violent, it undermines the very justice that it seeks to achieve,” Lynch said.
Annette Albright, who attended the protests, said those misbehaving need direction.
“We don’t have leadership that this crowd can relate to,” Albright said. “We know how to protest and have our voices heard in a civilized way, but who is going to teach the younger crowd? Church leaders need to get out there and tell these kids that this is not the right way.”
Journalists were not spared either. CNN’s Ed Lavandera was attacked by a protester while he was reporting live Wednesday night, as were local journalists.