Police and protesters violently clashed in the streets North Carolina after officers fatally shot Keith Lamont Scott. With reports claiming Keith was unarmed when he was killed, angry demonstrators trashed cop cars and fought back against another possible case of police brutality.
This violent display of rage and sadness followed the fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, 43, earlier in the day on Sept. 20. Keith died after an altercation with police near the Village at College Downs apartment complex, according to Heavy.com. Officers, searching for a suspect with an outstanding arrest warrant, discovered Keith sitting in a car and approached him.
“The subject exited the vehicle armed with a firearm,” the police said in a press release, causing the officers viewed Keith as “an imminent deadly threat.” The police opened fire and Keith would later die after being taken to a local hospital.
Keith’s family disputed the police claims that he was armed, arguing that he was holding a book instead of a gun. The father of 7 children was reportedly reading while waiting for his son to come home after school. Keith’s daughter, Lyric Scott, went on Facebook Live to express her fury, claiming that Keith was disabled. She also shouted that the police “shot my daddy for being black.” His sister and brother also claim that Keith was killed by an undercover cop.
The death of what may have been an unarmed man peacefully reading a book sparked a wave of outrage among those in the Charlotte community. Demonstrators took to the streets, destroying marked police vehicles and getting into scuffles with armed officers, per Al Jazeera. The protestors swarmed Interstate 85, shutting down traffic and starting fires. At least 12 officers were hurt and one protestor was injured.
Brently Vinson, 26, the officer later identified as the man who killed Keith, was put on paid administrative leave per department policy. Sadly, Keith is the sixth person shot and killed by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police department in 2016. Investigations in the five prior shootings found the killings to be justified.
Keith’s tragic death happened on the day that authorities in Tulsa, Oklahoma released graphic video footage of the police shooting of Terence Crutcher, 40. Terence was tasered by cops before officer Betty Shelby shot him dead. Terence was unarmed at the time.
Our thoughts go out to Keith’s family and friends during this time and to the people of Charlotte, North Carolina.