Charlotte faces unrest after deadly police shooting - | WBTV Charlotte

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Charlotte faces unrest after deadly police shooting

(Sky3 | WBTV) (Sky3 | WBTV)
Officer Brentley Vinson (WBTV/File) Officer Brentley Vinson (WBTV/File)
(Sky3 | WBTV) (Sky3 | WBTV)
(Sky3 | WBTV) (Sky3 | WBTV)

Charlotte faced aftermath of protests and unrest after a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer fatally shot a man in University City Tuesday.

Hours after 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott was shot, a large crowd gathered near the scene in protest, sparking clashes with police and tear gas being deployed.

It happened around 4 p.m. at The Village at College Downs apartment complex on the 9600 block of Old Concord Road. 

The officer who fired the shot was identified by police as Brentley Vinson, who has been with CMPD since July 2014.

RELATED: Man, officer involved in deadly northeast Charlotte shooting identified

Protesters roamed to Interstate 85 near Harris Boulevard, shutting the highway down in both directions for hours. Lanes reopened by Wednesday morning, with remnants of scattered debris remaining.

Police vehicles were damaged, rocks were thrown and gas was deployed. 

"When they were unheated, we deployed gas to disperse the crowd," CMPD Chief Kerr Putney said. The demonstrators continued to push through.

Putney says the protesters broke into the back of a tractor-trailer and started setting items on fire. Protesters also visited a Walmart on N. Tryon Street, breaking glass doors at the entrance. 

CMPD says several arrests were made overnight, but the number was kept to under five people. 

A total of 16 officers suffered injuries in the events, Putney said Wednesday.

What led to the shooting?

Officers said they were searching for a person with an outstanding warrant when they saw a man, later identified as Scott, get out of a vehicle with a firearm.

When Scott got back into the vehicle, the officers approached. The police report states Scott then got back out of the vehicle "armed with a firearm and posed an imminent deadly threat to the officers who subsequently fired their weapon striking the subject."

"I can tell you a weapon was seized, a handgun," Putney said in a press conference Wednesday. "I can also tell you we did not find a book that has been made referenced to."

RELATED: CMPD reviewing police video from deadly shooting, says no 'book' found

Community activists spoke out a short time after the CMPD press conference. 

John C. Barnett, national civil rights activist asked, "Why you can't shoot him in the leg, why four times in the chest?" 

A woman speaking on behalf of Scott asked that Scott not be revictimized. "We will not allow [Scott] to be revictimized by the system that took his life," the woman said. She said Scott's past doesn't matter. What matters, the woman said, is what he was doing at the time of the shooting. 

Officers say they immediately requested MEDIC and began performing CPR after Scott was shot. He was taken to Carolinas Medical Center where he was pronounced deceased a short time later.

"I don’t believe [the man shot] was the one with the warrants, but we don’t know if there was a connection," Putney told reporters. "At this point all we know they’re in the apartment complex parking lot and this subject gets out with a weapon, they engage him and one of the officers felt a lethal threat and fired his weapon because of that."


A woman claiming to be Scott's daughter live streamed the scene on Facebook for more than an hour after the shooting.

In the video, she said her father was unarmed when he was shot.

She said Scott was sitting in his vehicle reading a book and waiting for the school bus to drop off his son. In the video, she is heard saying police came up to him, yelled for him to get his hands up and broke open the car window.

RELATED: Local activists speak on fatal officer-involved shooting

She claims he was Tasered and then shot four times. In the video, she said her father was disabled, didn't have a gun and was even scared of them.

The video showed tense interaction between the neighborhood and police as the police pushed the crowd back further as they widened their perimeter. 

A woman who identified herself as Scott's sister was also at the scene. She also said her brother did not have a gun.

From WBTV's Sky3, a heavy police presence could be seen roping off a large area at the scene shortly after the incident.

By 9 p.m., large crowds had gathered in the area. Some were shouting at police, some held signs that read "Black Lives Matter" and "It Was A Book." It appeared at one point the crowds were blocking patrol cars from moving in the street, even climbing on top of them.

CMPD tweeted just after 10 p.m. that their Civil Emergency Unit was deployed "to safely remove our officers from old concord [sic]" after demonstrators surrounded officers who were attempting to leave the scene. 

The department later tweeted "A CMPD officer has sustained injuries in an attempt to deescalate agitators during demonstration." That officer's name and the extent of those injuries has not been released.

At 11 p.m. Tuesday, large clouds of what appeared to be tear gas could be seen coming from the crowds of protesters after officers in riot gear were seen putting on gas masks.

Marked police cars were also being "destroyed" during the protests, as seen from WBTV's Sky3.

Mayor Jennifer Roberts said just before midnight that she was in touch with the city manager, Chief Putney and others and "monitoring the situation closely."

"The community deserves answers and full investigation will ensue," Roberts tweeted. "Will be reaching out to community leaders to work together."

As is standard protocol with any officer-involved shooting, the Internal Affairs Bureau will conduct a parallel investigation to determine whether CMPD policies and procedures were followed and Officer Vinson will be placed on paid administrative leave.

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