5 Things to Know About the Unrest and State of Emergency in Charlotte After the Police Killing of Keith Lamont Scott

Unrest broke out for the second night in Charlotte, North Carolina after police shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott. North Carolina governor Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency Wednesday night, as protesters clashed with police, and the national guard was called in.


Scott's family has said he was sitting in a car in a parking lot reading a book when he was shot. Police have said Scott was out of the car, and that he refused demands to drop a gun he was holding. Some activists and observers are convinced that the police replaced Scott's book with a gun. Tahesia Williams, described as an eyewitness, said, "They took the book and replaced it with a gun. Because that man, he sits out here every day. His son rides and goes to school with my daughter. That man sits out here every day and waits on his son to get off the bus. You understand how that—how that baby had to come home to that?"

Here are five things to know about the unrest and the events so far:

1. The video.

The police have so far refused demands to release video footage of the shooting. Chief Kerr Putney said it would be inappropriate to present footage of "a victim's worst day" for public consumption. He has also said that the video does not definitively show 43-year-old Scott pointing a gun at anyone, or even holding a gun. The plainclothes officer who shot Scott was not wearing a body cam, but three uniformed officers were.

2. The officer.

The officer who shot Scott, identified as Brentley Vinson, has been placed on leave, reportedly standard procedure. 

3. Injuries.

Per the Guardian: "Several civilians and four police officers were hurt in the second night of violence on Wednesday night, one man critically. Several reporters and people on the street were attacked as police in riot gear linked arms, marched down streets and fired teargas." The critically injured man was shot, reportedly by another civilian.

4. North Carolina has a law about these videos.

North Carolina's arch-conservative governor Pat McCrory recently signed a law that blocks the release of police recordings from body or dashboard cameras with limited exceptions. But that law is not set to take effect until October. "Technology like dashboard cameras and body cameras can be very helpful, but when used by itself technology can also mislead and misinform, which causes other issues and problems within our community," Gov. McCrory said in July.

5. This isn't the first time tensions have flared over police killings in Charlotte.

According to the New York Times, "The shooting revived scrutiny of a police department that drew national attention about three years ago when a white officer was quickly charged with voluntary manslaughter after he killed Jonathan Ferrell, an unarmed black man." 

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