Is “he had a book” the new “hands up don’t shoot” mantra?
Tuesday night Charlotte police shot and killed an African-American man later identified as Keith Lamont Scott.
A woman claiming to be Scott’s daughter says Scott was unarmed, reading a book when he was shot and killed. Officers say that story is false, that they recovered a handgun and there was no book to be found.
Following the shooting, hundreds crowded into streets and freeways to protest police brutality, maintaining Scott was unarmed, equipped with nothing but a book.
Sixteen police officers were injured in the riots, though all injuries were minor. There were reports of injured motorists after protestors began throwing rocks, traffic cones, and bottles from interstate overpasses onto traffic beneath, reported the Charlotte Observer. Protestors looted a local WalMart, which was closed at the time.
Video of melee earlier tonight. pic.twitter.com/w6EJVpg6NC
— Mike Hanson (@MikeWCNC) September 21, 2016
From the Charlotte Observer:
Mayor Jennifer Roberts sent out a message on Twitter early Wednesday, noting: “I will continue to work with our manager and (police) chief…We are reaching out to community to ask for calm.”
Roberts said in a press conference Wednesday morning that she had been in contact with the state governor’s office, the White House and the NAACP and said the city was going to work to get out information as quickly as possible, while also dispelling rumors.
Charlotte Mecklenberg Police Chief Kerr Putney said in a 10:30 a.m. press conference that the department was working to gather facts, including viewing video from the scene. He said the officer involved was in plain clothes, wearing a vest and was accompanied by uniformed officers when they approached the victim. It remains unclear Scott was pointing a gun at the officer when he was shot, Putney said. The officer was also African-American.
Putney added that officers have not found a book at the scene of the shooting, contrary to social media claims that Scott was holding a book.
“I can tell you we did not find a book that has been referenced to,” Putney said. “We did find a weapon. The weapon was there and witnesses have corroborated it, beyond just the officers.”
Putney said the department would be staffed Wednesday in expectation of more protests, which he believes will be peaceful. “We’ll be prepared for whatever we see…We’re hoping for best but will be prepared for the worst,” he said.
According to the Washington Post:
Early Wednesday morning, demonstrators shut down traffic on Interstate 85. Some protesters opened up the backs of tractor trailers, took out boxes and set them on fire in the middle of the highway, WSOC reported. The station spoke to one truck driver who said people stole cargo from her trailer. Police reportedly used flash grenades to break up the crowd and had cleared the highway by early morning.
UPDATE: (7:08 PM)
Charlotte police confirm pictures of Scott’s gun:
— Joe Bruno (@JoeBrunoWSOC9) September 21, 2016
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