[Marxism] Protests Erupt in Charlotte After Police Kill a Black Man

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Sep 21 08:24:30 MDT 2016

NY Times, Sept. 21 2016
Protests Erupt in Charlotte After Police Kill a Black Man

About 16 police officers in Charlotte, N.C., were injured when a 
standoff between law enforcement and demonstrators turned ugly overnight 
after an officer fatally shot a black man on Tuesday afternoon.

Protesters clashed with police officers in riot gear and blocked a 
stretch of Interstate 85. Video from local television early Wednesday 
showed some demonstrators looting trucks that had been stopped on the 
highway and setting fire to the cargo.

Police Chief Kerr Putney said during a news conference on Wednesday 
morning that the officers had sustained minor injuries and that one 
person had been arrested during the protests, which began in the 
University City neighborhood in northeast Charlotte, near the campus of 
the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

WSOC-TV reported that looters later moved off the highway and tried to 
break into a Walmart before officers arrived in force to keep them out, 
and at least one family driving on Interstate 85 reported that their 
windshield had been shattered by demonstrators throwing rocks.

Mayor Jennifer Roberts urged calm in a series of Twitter messages and 
promised a thorough investigation into the shooting death of Keith L. 
Scott, 43.

“The community deserves answers and full investigation will ensue,” Ms. 
Roberts said. “Will be reaching out to community leaders to work together.”

The shooting occurred just before 4 p.m. on Tuesday as officers were 
trying to serve an arrest warrant for another person in an apartment 

Police officials said the officer opened fire because Mr. Scott, who 
they said was armed with a gun, “posed an imminent deadly threat.”

Although their accounts sometimes diverged, members of Mr. Scott’s 
family generally told local news outlets that he had not had a weapon. 
Instead, they said, he had been clutching a book while waiting to pick 
up a child after school.

The shooting revived scrutiny of a police department that drew national 
attention about three years ago when a white officer was quickly charged 
with voluntary manslaughter after he killed Jonathan Ferrell, an unarmed 
black man.

The shooting in Charlotte this week was the latest in a string of deaths 
of black people at the hands of the police that have stoked outrage 
around the country. It came just a few days after a white police officer 
in Tulsa, Okla., fatally shot Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man, 
who could be seen on video raising his hands above his head. The 
encounters, many of them at least partly caught on video, have led to 
intense debate about race relations and law enforcement.

In Charlotte, dozens of chanting demonstrators, some of them holding 
signs, began gathering near the site of the shooting on Tuesday evening. 
Around 10 p.m., the Police Department said on Twitter that it had sent 
its civil emergency unit to the scene “to safely remove our officers.”

“Demonstrators surrounded our officers who were attempting to leave 
scene,” the department said. It identified the officer who fired his 
weapon as Brentley Vinson, an employee since July 2014. Officer Vinson 
is black, according to local reports.

According to the department, officers saw Mr. Scott leave a vehicle with 
a weapon soon after they arrived at the apartment complex.

“Officers observed the subject get back into the vehicle, at which time 
they began to approach the subject,” the department said in its first 
statement about the shooting. “The subject 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.”

A police spokesman did not respond to an after-hours inquiry about 
whether a dashboard or body camera had recorded the shooting. Chief 
Putney had acknowledged that Mr. Scott had not been the subject of the 
outstanding warrant.

On Facebook, a woman who identified herself as Mr. Scott’s daughter said 
that the police had fired without provocation.

“The police just shot my daddy four times for being black,” the woman 
said moments into a Facebook Live broadcast that lasted about an hour. 
Later in the broadcast, she learned that her father had died and 
speculated that the police were planting evidence. (The police said that 
investigators had recovered a weapon.)

In September 2013, officials charged a Charlotte police officer with 
voluntary manslaughter after he fired a dozen rounds at an unarmed black 
man, killing him. The criminal case against the officer, Randall 
Kerrick, ended in a mistrial, and the authorities did not seek to try 
him again.

The department, which said on Tuesday that Officer Vinson had been 
placed on administrative leave, said it was conducting “an active and 
ongoing investigation” into the killing of Mr. Scott.

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