Charlotte police shooting: Protests erupt after officer kills black man

Early Wednesday morning, protesters blocked Interstate 85, an ABC affiliate in Charlotte reported. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION North Carolina, United States Sep 21, 2016, 11.21 AM (IST)
Racial tensions spilled out on the streets of Charlotte, North Carolina, after a police officer fatally shot a black man while they were searching an apartment for another man with an outstanding warrant.

While Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say the man was armed, the slain man's family insist he was disabled and had no firearm on him.

Police said officer Brentley Vinson shot Scott when he stepped out of the car because he "posed an imminent deadly threat to the officers". 

Vinson, who joined the Charlotte police force in July 2014, is black, according to the department. He has been placed on paid administrative leave.

Charlotte mayor Jennifer Roberts urged for calm. "The community deserves answers and (a) full investigation will ensue," she said on Twitter, adding in a subsequent post, "I want answers too."

Several protesters gathered outside the complex where Scott was shot. About a dozen officers and several protesters suffered non-life threatening injuries during the demonstration.

According to an ABC affiliate in Charlotte, protesters also blocked Interstate 85.

Some protesters removed boxes from the back of semi trailers and set the items on fire before police used flash grenades in an attempt to disperse the angry crowd.

Later, a video footage by local media showed a group of protesters trying to break into a Walmart store before police arrived and began guarding its front entryway.

Police did not immediately say if Scott was the suspect they had originally sought at the apartment complex. WSOC-TV, a local television station, reported that he was not.

Police said, detectives recovered the gun Scott was holding at the time of the shooting and were interviewing witnesses.

Protesters and Scott's family disputed that the dead man was armed. Some family members told reporters that Scott had been holding a book and was waiting for his son to be dropped off from school.

Shakeala Baker, who lives in a neighboring apartment complex, said she had seen Scott in the parking lot on previous afternoons waiting for his child. But on Tuesday, she watched as medics tended to Scott after he was shot, she said.

"This is just sad," said Baker, 31. "I get tired of seeing another black person shot every time I turn on the television. But (police are) scared for their own lives. So if they’re scared for their lives, how are they going to protect us?"

(WION with inputs from Reuters)
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