North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency in Charlotte late Wednesday night as protests turned violent for a second night.
A prayer vigil at the condominium-complex parking lot where 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott was shot and killed by police Tuesday night turned into a march through downtown when one group split from the others.
During the march, a person was shot and gravely wounded in front of an upscale hotel being protected by police.
Fox News reported that a black male sustained a gunshot to the head and “was bleeding profusely from the back of his head” and “covered up with a sheet.”
City officials had mistakenly said earlier that the man had been killed in the unrest.
Ryan James, a reporter for the Daily Beast, witnessed the shooting and described seeing a “black man shoot another black man for no reason.”
“Around 8:30 p.m., a civilian fired a pistol indiscriminately into a crowd of dozens outside the hotel, turned and ran, leaving a man laying on the ground in a pool of blood on the sidewalk. There was a loud pop, then panic and confusion. Standing about 10 yards away, I looked down the barrel of a pistol. Several people were screaming, saying someone was shot in the head and a crowd quickly formed around the victim, a black male. I thought to myself, “Oh my God, why?” Breathing heavily, I called 911, pacing around in the street. I could be the person on life support. The bullet had whizzed past me. But here I was, still breathing, and reporting this tragic news unfolding in front of me.”
A tweet from the City of Charlotte also called the shooting “civilian on civilian,” noting that police “did not fire a shot.”
The patient was receiving treatment for a gunshot wound and was being transported to the Carolinas Medical Center at 8:45 p.m., according to the Charlotte Observer.
The scene was total chaos, according to the report headlined, “1 shot during uptown protests over officer-involved shooting.”
“Moments earlier, police fired tear gas at protesters at the entrance to the Omni Hotel in uptown Charlotte. Loud booms sounded, and police said explosives had been used,” the newspaper reported.
“Your life is in danger, you need to move!” shouted police in riot gear.
Charlotte’s WBTV-3 reported, “One has been confirmed dead and two others have been hospitalized …”
Officers fired rubber bullets into the crowd around 9:45 p.m., according to the report. Fox News reported rioters were “lobbing bottles and lobbing rocks at police,” who set up a barrier outside the Omni hotel.
Charlotte-Macklenburg police tweeted early Thursday that at least four officers suffered non-life threatening injuries in the unrest.
Sporadic looting was reported by the New York Times. The team store of the NBA’a Charlotte Hornets was broken into and gutted of merchandise, according to messages on Twitter.
At one point during the chaos, a CNN reporter was tackled and knocked to the ground.
“We’re fine, just someone taking out their frustrations on me,” Ed Lavandera told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
Lavandera later tweeted, “For a guy that hates to be part of the story, let me just say I am fine. Thank you for your well wishes. Back to work now.”
McCrory said in a statement Wednesday night that he would be sending the National Guard to the city.
“Any violence directed toward our citizens or police officers or destruction of property should not be tolerated,” McCrory said in a statement. “I support and commend the law enforcement officials for their bravery and courage during this difficult situation.”
Police in riot gear marched arm in arm through downtown intersections, shooting tear gas at people who charged them and firing flash grenades as protesters hurled bottles and fireworks at them.
“We’re trying to disperse the crowd. We’ve been very patient, but now they’ve become very violent,” Police Chief Kerr Putney said in an interview with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly on “The Kelly File.”
On Tuesday evening, rioters attacked motorists on a highway and injured several police officers in Charlotte after the fatal shooting of Scott.
Scott was killed at an apartment complex on the city’s northeast side while police were trying to serve a warrant for a different man in the same complex.
Charlotte police warned Scott again and again to drop his handgun, said Putney during a news conference on Wednesday.
“The officers gave loud, clear verbal commands which were also heard by many of the witnesses. They were instructing the subject, once he got out of the vehicle, to drop the weapon … Mr. Scott exited his vehicle armed with a handgun as the officers continued to yell at him to drop it.”
Scott’s family members said he was simply sitting in his car, reading a book while waiting to pick up his son from school.
Officers did not find a book where Scott was shot, said Putney.
The violence began after Scott’s daughter posted a profanity-laced, hour-long video on Facebook, saying her father had an unspecified disability and was unarmed.
A man described as the brother of Scott can be heard calling all white people “f––ing devils” in a video captured shortly after Scott was killed.
“I just know that all white people are f—ing devils.” Then he adds, “All white cops are f—ing devils, and white people.”
The officer who killed Scott, Brentley Vinson, is also black. Vinson was not wearing a body camera but three uniformed officers had cameras on them, the chief said. The dashcam footage is available and investigators are examining the video, according to Putney. The ACLU and the NAACP are asking Charlotte officials to release any video of the shooting.
“We demand a full investigation into why yet another black person in the United States has died at the hands of a police officer,” Karen Anderson, executive director of the ACLU of North Carolina, said in a statement. “In the interest of transparency and accountability, and particularly in light of conflicting accounts about the shooting, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department should quickly release any and all footage it has of the events leading up to the shooting, as well as the shooting itself. The department should also explain why the officer who shot Mr. Scott was not wearing a body camera.”
Scott’s family will be allowed to watch the police shooting video on Thursday, Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts said.
“As a family, we respect the rights of those who wish to protest, but we ask 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,” Scott’s wife, Rakeiya Scott, said in a statement Wednesday night.
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A crowd of more than 200 protesters gathered in the neighborhood, which is about a mile from the campus of the University of North Carolina, after the shooting.
They could be heard yelling, “Black lives matter,” and “Hands up, don’t shoot!” Some threw rocks and bottles at police and damaged police vehicles. Some of the officers, who were clad in riot gear, fired tear gas to break up the crowd.
“We out like the Taliban!” one rioter could be heard yelling on a Facebook Live broadcast of the protests, reported the Daily Caller.
“We ain’t playin’ no motherf—in’ games, nigga!” a man yelled.
“This ain’t no one-day action!” another cried. “This is the first time people standing up!”
Sixteen police officers were injured Tuesday, including one who was hit in the face with a rock, and at least seven civilians were taken to hospitals, officials said.
Later, rioters blocked Interstate 85, one of two major expressways running through Charlotte.
TV footage showed people hurling objects at motorists inside their vehicles and breaking into semi-trucks and stealing their contents. A fire was set to block the lanes of traffic and a nearby Walmart store was also looted.
A Walmart employee told the local TV station some electronic equipment was stolen, including a flat-screen television and iPads.
Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts appealed for calm and tweeted “the community deserves answers.”
“Something has to be done. … (T)here was a terrorist in New Jersey, New York. He was taken alive,” protester Nichelle Dunlap told CNN affiliate WCCB-TV in Charlotte.
“They said they want to question him. So because you wanted to question him, does his life mean more than our black men across the nation? It doesn’t make any sense.”
“When will our lives truly matter? A black father is dead. There are children tonight who will never see their father again,” said Corine Mack, the 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,” she told CNN.
By Wednesday afternoon, students at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte staged a “die in” protest in the Student Union rotunda. The university posted the following image of the protest on Twitter:
Nation of Islam leader B.J. Murphy promised there would be more riots and boycotts in Charlotte. At a press conference Wednesday, he said:
“We’re watching our black men this week being gunned down, and there is no redress for our grievances of black people being killed. Our brother, Scott, they say he had a gun. Somebody said he had a book. We need to do our own independent investigation to see if that is actually true. But what we’re standing up for now is our black manhood and our black people, who are being gunned down in the street. And we don’t get no justice.
“So what I’m calling for, and what we’re calling for, is an economic boycott of the whole City of Charlotte. Since black lives do not matter for this city, then our black dollars shouldn’t matter. Right? Keep our money in our pocket… We’re watching modern-day lynching on social media, on television, and it is affecting the psyche of black people. That’s what you saw last night.
“When you don’t get your justice, when we don’t get our redress for our grief, and we don’t get justice, this is what you see. And you gonna see more of that. We’re not telling our brothers and sisters to stop. We’re not gonna get out there and tell ya all, ‘Oh brother, you shouldn’t do this, you shouldn’t do that, you shouldn’t do this’ when we ain’t getting no justice. So everybody in Charlotte should be on notice that black people today, we’re tired of this bull. We’re tired of being killed, and nobody’s saying nothing. We’re tired of our political leaders going along to get along; they’re so weak. They don’t have no sympathy for our grief. And we want justice.”
Watch Murphy’s comments:
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich described the rioting in Charlotte as “an American tragedy.”
“Fifty-three years after Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech; eight years after the election of an African-American president…race relations are decaying in this country.”
“Schools that don’t work, neighborhoods with no jobs, random violence, a sense of being powerless even though there is an African-American president,” Gingrich told Fox News.