Keith Lamont Scott was a father of seven.
Violent protests rocked Charlotte, North Carolina on Tuesday night, lasting into early Wednesday morning and leaving at least sixteen people injured. Demonstrators had gathered to protest the murder of Keith Lamont Scott, who was shot by a police officer earlier in the day.
Reports conflict over why the shooting occurred; Scott’s family claims the 43-year-old father of seven was reading a book in his car while waiting for his son’s school bus to arrive. They said Scott was disabled, and that the officer who shot him was not in uniform. In a Facebook Live video, a person claiming to be Scott’s daughter said, “My daddy didn’t do nothing. They just pulled up undercover.
But police said they were searching for a suspect in the area where Scott’s car was parked, and they saw Scott get out of his car holding a gun. Charlotte’s chief of police, Kerr Putney, said at a press conference that officers gave Scott “loud, clear verbal commands that were also heard by many of the witnesses” to drop his weapon. They said officers believed he “posed an imminent deadly threat,” causing them to open fire. Officer Brentley Vinson (who is also black) fired the lethal bullet. Putney said a gun was found “in close proximity” to Scott after he was shot.
It’s worth noting that North Carolina is an ‘open carry’ state. That means, with some exceptions, it’s legal to openly carry a handgun in public, no permit required.
Following the shooting, hundreds of people gathered to protest. Police clad in riot gear faced off with protestors, who began by peacefully chanting “black lives matter” and “hands up don’t shoot.” As the demonstration turned violent, officers sprayed tear gas into the crowd and people began smashing windows of police vehicles. Protestors flooded Interstate 85 and shut down traffic as the scene raged on into Wednesday morning.
— Joe Bruno (@JoeBrunoWSOC9) September 21, 2016
Tension around police brutality was already high this week; last weekend in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a female police officer shot and killed 40-year-old Terence Crutcher as he waited for help by the side of the road when his car broke down. Video of the incident shows Crutcher, unarmed, standing next to his car with his hands in the air. The officer who shot him said she was afraid he was going to reach for a gun. The United States Justice Department is investigating.
Over the last few years, so many black men and boys in the United States have been killed by police, it’s getting hard to keep track. But the recent string of highly publicized police shootings has people demanding to be heard – and demanding justice for black lives.
Keith Lamont Scott.
Those are only a few – and the list keeps growing longer.
Image via Brent Olson / Shutterstock.com.
Comment: What can you do to advocate for an end to police brutality?