A City Engulfed By Violence- Charlotte Riots Continue After Police Killing of Keith Scott
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Politics and Activism

A City Engulfed By Violence- Charlotte Riots Continue After Police Killing of Keith Scott

A city burns after yet another police shooting of a black man, as residents question when the violence will come to an end and if African Americans are truly safe in this country.

A City Engulfed By Violence- Charlotte Riots Continue After Police Killing of Keith Scott
International Business Times

It's a story we've all heard before: an innocent black man, hands in his pockets or around a candy bar or a toy or a book, colliding with a jumpy police officer. There's a misunderstanding, maybe a shout, and suddenly, the shallow ring of bullets. The next day, either incredible upheaval or complete ignorance.

Charlotte, North Carolina is the newest example of a city consumed in chaos after yet another controversial police shooting. Tensions began Thursday afternoon when a Charlotte police officer fatally shot Keith Scott as he waited in his car for his child to return from school. Scott was black, something he had in common with the man who killed him, Brentley Vinson. His death is the latest in a string of highly publicized shootings taking place around the country amid claims of racial profiling among police officers.

Confusion surrounds the events preceding Scott's death. The consensus among Charlotte's police force has been that Scott was in possession of a handgun when he was ordered to step out of his car by Officer Vinson. Several eyewitnesses, however, report that it was a book Scott was holding, not a gun. "I can tell you a weapon was seized, a handgun. I can also tell you, we did not find a book," said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney. The shooting was captured on video, but Charlotte officials are refusing to release said video to the public.

Putney's statement was quick to inspire anger, and hundreds of protesters met around the city Wednesday night. Some protests were peaceful, but violent demonstrations also ravaged the city under intense media scrutiny. Charlotte was declared to be in a state of emergency. "I have declared a State of Emergency & initiated efforts to deploy the Nat'l Guard & Highway Patrol to assist local law enforcement in CLT," tweeted North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory.

Protesters threw rocks at riot police, burned trash cans, and broke windows of cars and stores. Wednesday night saw the shooting of an unidentified man amid a demonstration that law enforcement later attempted to disperse using tear gas. The man, still unidentified, was gravely wounded and is on life support, according to the city's Twitter. 16 police officers were injured, and at least seven civilians were hospitalized as of Tuesday. Protests continued for a third night on Thursday the 22nd, as the city waited on edge for a conclusion of the violence amongst its residents.

"When will our lives truly matter? A black father is dead. There are children tonight who will never see their father again," said president of the Charlotte chapter of the NAACP. "It clearly appears as if our lives don't matter. We need to change policies. We need to change procedure. We need to hold police accountable. It's a modern-day lynching. Charlotte is not a good place right now; we're in the throes of this problem."

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