Violence flared in the southern US city of Charlotte, North Carolina, in a second night of unrest ignited by the fatal police shooting of a black man. Charlotte officials appealed for calm on Thursday, hours after violent riots stemming from a controversial police shooting of a black man injured several police officers and civilians and resulted in 44 arrests.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency at 12:30 a.m. and called in the National Guard after Charlotte’s police chief said he needed the help.
The events that we saw last night are not the Charlotte I know and love, Mayor Jennifer Roberts said during a Thursday morning news conference. They are not reflective of our community, of the deep-seated traditions we have of collaboration and peace.
Roberts called for a full, transparent investigation of the police shooting on Tuesday of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott, however, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney would not commit to releasing video of the incident to the public. Putney said Scott's family had asked to see the video and authorities were trying to accommodate that request.
What started out on Wednesday evening as a prayer vigil after Scott's shooting turned into an angry march and then a night of violence. A man was shot and critically wounded as protesters charged police in riot gear trying to protect an upscale hotel.
Video obtained which was recorded right after the shooting, shows someone lying in a pool of blood as people scream and a voice yells for someone to call for help. People are then told to back up from the scene.
The chaos resulted in two police officers receiving treatment for eye injuries and three others for heat-related issues, Putney said. Nine civilians were also hurt. The 44 people arrested were charged with varying crimes, including failure to disperse, assault and breaking and entering.
Demonstrators shouted black lives matter and hands up; don't shoot while cursing at officers with bicycles blocking intersections. As the protesters approached the Omni hotel, officers in riot gear lined up outside arm in arm and a few marchers threw bottles and clods of dirt.
Immediately after the Omni shooting, police began firing flash grenades and protesters threw fireworks. Police then fired tear gas, and the crowd of hundreds dispersed.
But not all the marchers left. Police in riot gear then began marching arm in arm through downtown Charlotte intersections, shooting tear gas at people who charged them. At least one protester knocked down a CNN reporter during a live shot.
Putney defended his officers' actions in an interview. We're trying to disperse the crowd, Putney said. We've been very patient, but now they've become very violent.