Violent protests erupted in Charlotte, North Carolina, Tuesday night, after the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott by police officer Brentley Vinson. Both Scott and Vinson are black. Nevertheless, a man claiming to be Scott’s brother declared that white people are evil.
“Just know that all white people are f***in’ devils,” the man said. “Air that sh*t. All white cops are f***in’ devils, and white people! They’re all f***in’ devils.” Here is the video:
Conflicting reports have emerged about the events surrounding Scott’s death, USA Today reported. Local police reported that he had a gun when he emerged from his car, but neighbors and family insisted that the item was a book. In the hours after the incident, a large crowd of protesters formed, and police resorted to tear gas and flash bangs to disperse the protesters. About 12 police officers were injured and squad cars were damaged. The doors to a Walmart store were reportedly smashed as well.
Scott was not the intended target of the police search which began Tuesday afternoon. Officers were searching for a suspect with an outstanding warrant when they saw Scott — not the suspect they were looking for — inside a vehicle at The Village at College Downs, an apartment complex in Charlotte.
Officers said the man exited the vehicle armed with a firearm, then got back in. When the officers approached the car, Scott got out of the car with the gun again. The officers considered the man to be “an imminent deadly threat to the officers who subsequently fired their weapon striking the subject,” according to officials.
Detectives reportedly recovered a firearm from the scene and were interviewing witnesses. Vinson was placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure. He had been with the department for two years, according to the Associated Press.
Almost immediately after the event, neighbors and family members disputed the police’s story.
“He didn’t have no gun, he wasn’t messin’ with nobody,” a woman who claimed she was Scott’s sister told WBTV News’ Sarah Blake. She insisted that Scott was reading a book when he was shot.
— Sarah Blake Morgan (@StorytellerSBM) September 20, 2016
The man who called himself Scott’s brother told WCNC’s Tanya Mendis that Vinson did not have a uniform on — he was an undercover cop. “He just jumped out, and yelled ‘gun!’ and shot at him.”
BREAKING: brother of man killed in CMPD shooting says he got out of his car because he was armed & scared of PD pic.twitter.com/IgwsrLmfKf
— Tanya Mendis (@tanyamendis) September 20, 2016
Next Page: The riots and the police chief’s statement.
Over one hundred protesters gathered after the shooting, and the group moved onto a highway, which police had to shut down. TV footage showed dozens of protesters on Interstate 85 apparently looting semi-trucks and setting their contents on fire, according to the Associated Press. Chants of “Black Lives Matter!” and “No Justice, No Peace!” were interspersed through the crowd.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department tweeted that demonstrators were destroying marked police vehicles, and that 12 officers had been injured, including one who was hit in the face with a rock.
Agitators destroying marked police units. CEU continues to work to restore order and protect our community. pic.twitter.com/ZSYSt374w0
— CMPD News (@CMPD) September 21, 2016
Jennifer Roberts, the mayor of Charlotte, asked for calm late Tuesday night.
By 5 a.m. Wednesday, the streets were quiet and I-85 was moving again. Broken glass and rocks were strewn across the ground where a police car had been vandalized. Wooden pallets had been erected to barricade the entrance of the Walmart that had been looted.
On Wednesday morning, Police Chief Kerr Putney gave a statement, insisting that based on witnesses and evidence found at the scene, Scott exited his car with a handgun before he was shot.
This incident follows close on the heels of the shooting of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Crutcher’s car had blocked the road and one female cop shot him while her fellow officer used a Taser. The “Black Lives Matter” movement considers this death to be racially motivated, and the protests in Charlotte suggest they view Scott’s death in the same way.