North Carolina’s governor has declared a state of emergency in the city of Charlotte, after violence erupted during a second night of protests over the police killing of yet another unarmed black man.
43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott was shot dead by a police officer on Tuesday, 20 September. His death followed another police killing of another black man in Tulsa on Friday 16 September, Terence Crutcher. Protests are also ongoing in the Oklahoma city.
The protests in Charlotte late on Wednesday 21 September saw one person critically injured after being shot. Police said that victim, who they did not identify, was shot by a civilian.
Authorities have been attempting to subdue public anger after Scott’s death, with police in riot gear firing tear gas at protesters and arresting those they accuse of violence.
Mark Thompson, a radio host of Make it Plain, a show focusing on human rights told the local media, “This is tragic. It’s a very sad night for the people of Charlotte. As Dr [Martin Luther] King said, so-called riots are the language of the unheard. It’s an extension and direct result of the modern-day lynching of Keith Lamont Scott”.
With officials refusing to release any video of Scott, anger built as two very different versions emerged.
Police say Scott disregarded repeated demands to drop his gun, while neighbourhood residents say he was holding a book, not a weapon, as he waited for his son to get off the school bus.
Although a police video of the fatal shooting of Scott has not been released, a video showing the moment Crutcher died in the Tulsa shooting was made available for public viewing.
“We know [from that video] without a doubt Terence Crutcher had his hands in the air,” said Thompson.
The protests in Charlotte included shutting down the eight-lane Interstate 85 and burning the contents of a tractor-trailer.
Along with the man critically injured, paramedics said two other people and six police officers suffered minor injuries.
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory announced that he was accepting a request from Charlotte’s police chief, declaring a state of emergency and calling in the National Guard and state troopers to help restore order and protect downtown.
Protesters have been chanting “Black lives matter” and “Hands up; don’t shoot”. However, some clashes between protesters and police saw officers fire flash grenades and marchers throw fireworks in return.
Video of a solidarity protest in New York showed protesters chanting slogans and carrying placards reading: “Black lives matter” and “Stop the war on black America”.