Just days after an unarmed Black man was shot and killed in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the national spotlight moved south after reports broke Tuesday afternoon that a Black disabled man was fatally shot by police in Charlotte, North Carolina.
According to The Charlotte Observer, family identified the man who was shot and killed as Keith Lamont Scott, 43. The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department released Brentley Vinson’s name as the officer involved who fired the fatal shot. Both men are Black.
Overnight, protesters blocked off several streets and a portion of I-85 near the scene of the crime, rallying for justice. The Observer reports traffic stood for hours as protesters ignited two fires on the highway, burning items taken from freight trucks.
Protesters chanted “Black Lives Matter!,” and held signs that said, “It was a book,” referring to Scott’s family claims that police misinterpreted a book for a gun at the time he was shot.
According to The Charlotte Observer, there are discrepancies on how many civilians were injured and arrested, but reports confirmed 12 officers were injured during the protests. The Observer reports a local Walmart was looted. Police deployed tear gas and faced protesters head-on throughout the evening.
But questions remain regarding what occurred on Tuesday afternoon. Police say Scott was armed, while his family says he was sitting in a car reading a book while he waited for his son after school.
The encounter began Tuesday afternoon in an apartment complex in the University City area. Police were searching for a suspect with an outstanding warrant when they say they saw Scott step out of his vehicle with a gun. Officers say Scott returned to his vehicle, but when officers approached, he posed an immediate threat, during which officers fired their weapon, striking Scott.
CMPD Police Chief Kerr Putney later revealed to the press that Scott was not the intended subject of their initial search. Authorities also say they recovered a weapon at the scene of the crime, The Observer reports.
A woman who claims to be Scott’s daughter posted a live stream that lasted over an hour, detailing her account of events. She claims her father was unarmed, disabled, and was waiting for his son to be dropped off after school. He held a book in his hand, she lamented, not a gun.
Reporters spoke with Scott’s brother, who also corroborated the daughter’s story, but he added that Scott was approached by an officer who appeared in plainclothes.
Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts tweeted out Tuesday night that the community deserves answers, calling for calm. Roberts said she will work with community leaders to get to the bottom of what occurred.
As with most police shootings, Vinson was placed on paid administrative leave while the department investigates. Internal affairs will conduct a separate investigation to determine if procedures were violated, The Observer reports.
SOURCE: The Charlotte Observer | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter