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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Protesters massed on Charlotte’s streets for a third night Thursday in the latest sign of mounting pressure for police to release video that could resolve wildly different accounts of the shooting of a black man.

Demonstrators chanted “release the tape” and “we want the tape” while briefly blocking an intersection near Bank of America headquarters and later climbing the steps in front of the city government center. Later, several dozen demonstrators climbed onto an interstate highway through the city, but they were pushed back by police in riot gear.

Still, the protests lacked the violence and property damage of previous nights — and a midnight curfew imposed by the mayor aimed to add a firm stopping point for the demonstrations. Local officers’ ranks were augmented by members of the National Guard carrying rifles and guarding office buildings against the threat of property damage.

So far, police have resisted releasing police dashcam and body camera footage of the death of 43-year Keith Lamont Scott earlier this week. His family was shown the footage Thursday and demanded that police release it to the public. The family’s lawyer said he couldn’t tell whether Scott was holding a gun.

But Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said earlier in the day that releasing the footage of Scott’s killing could undermine the investigation. He told reporters the video will be made public when he believes there is a “compelling reason” to do so.

“You shouldn’t expect it to be released,” Putney said. “I’m not going to jeopardize the investigation.”

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts waited until Thursday’s protests were underway for more than an hour before signing documents for the citywide curfew that runs from midnight to 6 a.m. The curfew will last for multiple days until officials determine the emergency has passed.

In an interview with CNN, Roberts said she thought the curfew was the most effective way to maintain peace in the city.

Charlotte is the latest U.S. city to be shaken by protests and recriminations over the death of a black man at the hands of police, a list that includes Baltimore, Milwaukee, Chicago, New York and Ferguson, Missouri. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Thursday, prosecutors charged a white officer with manslaughter for killing an unarmed black man on a city street last week.

In Charlotte, scores of rioters Wednesday night attacked reporters and others, set fires and smashed windows of hotels, office buildings and restaurants in the city’s bustling downtown section. The NASCAR Hall of Fame was among the places damaged.

Forty-four people were arrested after Wednesday’s protests, and one protester who was shot died at the hospital Thursday; city officials said police did not shoot the man and no arrests have been made in 26-year-old Justin Carr’s death.


Justin Carr/Facebook 

Police have said that Scott was shot to death Tuesday by a black officer after he disregarded loud, repeated warnings to drop his gun. Neighbors, though, have said he was holding only a book. The police chief said a gun was found next to the dead man, and there was no book.

Putney said that he has seen the video and it does not contain “absolute, definitive evidence that would confirm that a person was pointing a gun.” But he added: “When taken in the totality of all the other evidence, it supports what we said.”

Justin Bamberg, an attorney for Scott’s family, watched the video with the slain man’s relatives. He said Scott gets out of his vehicle calmly.

“While police did give him several commands, he did not aggressively approach them or raise his hands at members of law enforcement at any time. It is impossible to discern from the videos what, if anything, Mr. Scott is holding in his hands,” Bamberg said in a statement.

Police fire teargas as protestors converge on downtown following Tuesday's police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016. Protesters have rushed police in riot gear at a downtown Charlotte hotel and officers have fired tear gas to disperse the crowd. At least one person was injured in the confrontation, though it wasn't immediately clear how. Firefighters rushed in to pull the man to a waiting ambulance.(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Scott was shot as he walked slowly backward with his hands by his side, Bamberg said.

The lawyer said at a news conference earlier in the day that Scott’s wife saw him get shot, “and that’s something she will never, ever forget.” That is the first time anyone connected with the case has said the wife witnessed the shooting. Bamberg gave no details on what the wife saw.

Roberts, who also watched the footage of the shooting, was asked by CNN whether she saw Scott holding a gun.

“It is not a very clear picture and the gun in question is a small gun. And it was not easy to see … so it is ambiguous,” she replied.

Experts who track shootings by police noted that the release of videos can often quell protest violence, and that the footage sometimes shows that events unfolded differently than the official account.

“What we’ve seen in too many situations now is that the videos tell the truth and the police who were involved in the shooting tell lies,” said Randolph McLaughlin, a professor at Pace University School of Law. He said it is “irresponsible” of police not to release the video immediately.

Debris falls upon CMPD officers and protestors as officers began to push protestors from the intersection near the Epicentre in Charlotte, NC on Wednesday, September 21, 2016. Protestors were marching and rallying against CMPD officer Brentley Vinson's fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott on Tuesday evening at The Village at College Downs apartment complex in the University City area.

Other cities have released footage of police shootings. Just this week, Tulsa police let the public see video of the disputed Sept. 16 shooting, though the footage left important questions unanswered.

The police chief acknowledged that he has promised transparency in the investigation, but said, “I’m telling you right now, if you think I say we should display a victim’s worst day for consumption, that is not the transparency I’m speaking of.”


Associated Press writers Tom Foreman Jr., Jonathan Drew Seanna Adcox, Jeffrey Collins, Jack Jones and Gary Robertson contributed to this report.

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8 thoughts on “Third Night Of Protests In Charlotte Is Largely Peaceful

  1. ResponsibilityInControl on said:

    The music is a big part of this violence against our own people. Get the lyrics to these rap songs and you will hear the the destructive behavior. The rap artists don’t promote going to college they dont promote getting a job they dont promote making a stronger community they do not encourage supporting our women. But its the white mans fault no couldnt be. Rap artists are contributing to the thug mentality that is plaguing our communities and young men. All the while they take the money and run. Start there first.

    • His Beautiful on said:

      Please tell me what music has to do with police shootings? What do the lyrics of a song have to do with our right as a people to be treated justly and with respect????

      • specialt757 on said:

        Girl you’re talking to a brick wall, he/she doesn’t have an answer to that, just speaking cause he/she has a right too.

      • ResponsibilityInControl on said:

        The rap music that our community produces is ingrained into the minds of these young men in our communities. Hate one another, kill each other, sell drugs, treat women badly. You cant say that all the music is positive we promote the very violence that effects our communities. Listen to Future, Rick Ross and a handful of these other artists out now and you will hear the destruction. For example Future has a song and he says ” you got all them guns and that boy aint dead yet” You got all them guns and aint popped off no shots yet” Tell me how is this good for anyone to listen too. Im not just talking! We need to change!

  2. specialt757 on said:

    Why did the police approach Scott in the first place? What had he done wrong? How did sitting in her own car waiting for his son’s school bus lead to getting out of his car pointing a small gun at police? How do we get there?

  3. There are two reasons why the protest turned peaceful. One, all the stores and shops had already been looted empty and two, the rifle carrying National Guard standing by to discourage any further monkey shining. Now, my biggest question. What does anyone think would be happening if the dead protester had been shot by a cop instead of a fellow protester? The race baiting press has sad absolutely nothing about him, except he’s dead. No outcry. No attempts to find who shot him. No outrage. No questions. Who is he? Who shot him? Why? Why is his family holding press conferences demanding answers? Either no one cares because the dead person is white, or because he’s black and was shot by another black person as opposed to being shot by a cop or another white person. Either no one gives a damn.

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