CMPD Chief: No curfew yet, but additional law enforcement help is on the way

Published: Sep. 22, 2016 at 1:06 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 22, 2016 at 9:36 PM EDT
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(Jeff Siner | Charlotte Observer)
(Jeff Siner | Charlotte Observer)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte city leaders held a news conference Thursday morning, following the second night of protests over the Keith Lamont Scott shooting.

"I'm not here to defend a position," Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney began. "I am here to get you information."

Peaceful protests broke out into violence overnight, subsiding around 3 a.m. Putney said during those protests, a total of 44 people were arrested and hit with charges from breaking and entering to failure to disperse. Five officers and nine civilians were injured in the unrest.

Overnight, protesters flooded part of Interstate 277, surrounding cars driving on the highway.

Putney said the city's resources have been tied up, but now with help from the State Highway Patrol and State National Guard, more help is available. Putney reiterated more people and additional resources will be coming in to counteract any violent protests Thursday night, but there was no need to impose a curfew at this time.

Instead, Putney said, resources will be used to keep the peace should any more protests erupt into violence.

"We will not rest until we bring all people to justice," Putney said.

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, who also appeared at the news conference, continued to ask for peace in the days ahead.

"The safety of our citizens is our highest priority," Roberts said.

Scott, 43, was killed Tuesday while police were serving a warrant at The Village at College Downs apartment complex on Old Concord Road.

Putney says Brentley Vinson, the officer who opened fire, was not wearing a body camera. Putney says other uniformed officers on scene were. Vinson was reportedly wearing plain clothes and a clearly marked CMPD vest.

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

Others, such as Scott's family, have disputed information that he had a gun, saying that he was armed with nothing more than a book. However, a photo released by a source close to the investigation appeared to show a gun next to Scott's body.

Demonstrators held a vigil for Scott on Wednesday night in uptown, but hundreds more joined the protests and marched through the streets of Charlotte. As dusk turned to night, the protests erupted into violence as the protesters engaged in skirmishes with CMPD officers in riot gear.

RELATED: Tear gas, broken glass, injuries abound in night two of Charlotte protests

Many protesters smashed windows of uptown businesses and caused thousands of dollars in property damage.

According to Charlotte-Mecklenburg officials, panes of glass were broken at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, CRVA Safety and Security building, Stonewall Station light rail, CLC bus shelter and the Spectrum Center (previously Time Warmer Arena).

Law enforcement officials attempted to disperse the crowd, but many of them splintered off and attempted to block roadways.

There is no word on how many were arrested as a result of the protests.

RELATED: Tear gas, broken glass, injuries abound in night two of Charlotte protests

By late Thursday morning, leaders worked to clean up Charlotte's streets, scattered with debris.

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