Charlotte Wants the Tape


The killing of Keith Lamont Scott, a 43 year-old African-American man, at the hands of a police officer on September 20 ignited protests in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“The daughter of Keith Lamont Scott says that her father did not have a gun, that he was not armed, and that he was sitting in the car reading a book waiting on his son to get off a bus from school,” reported Gwendolyn Glenn from public radio station WFAE.

Scott was shot down at an apartment complex near the University of North Carolina. Law enforcement officers at the scene claimed Scott was in possession of a gun and was ordered by police to put it down several times. However, onlookers gave a very different account of the incident.

“Mr. Scott’s hands were by his side and he was slowly walking backwards,” said the family’s lawyer, Justin Bamberg.

The protest began on Tuesday night as rioters threw rocks at police to avenge what they believe to be Scott’s wrongful death. Law enforcement reported that sixteen officers were injured Tuesday night. One demonstrator was arrested.


The protests continued into Wednesday. On Wednesday morning, an area of the city’s interstate was closed due to the protests, but was reopened later in the day in order to not interrupt the traffic flow. Citizens continued to riot for their cause, shattering car windows and throwing items at police officers. Law enforcement fought back with concussion grenades and tear gas, but the demonstrators continued to stand their ground. One demonstrator, 26-year-old Justin Carr, was shot and reported dead; however, city officials later reported that he was in critical condition.

The third day of the protests proved to be much more peaceful than the first two.

“This is the right way to do it. Last night, we messed up. We let things get out of hand. But tonight, we were going to show the world that this is how we come together to protest,” commented Tyler Hickey, a University of North Carolina student.

Thousands of protesters marched through downtown Charlotte. Protesters demanded that police release the tape of Scott’s shooting. The governor of North Carolina declared a state of emergency and a citywide, midnight curfew went into effect on Friday; however, police did not enforce it as the protests remained peaceful. The curfew was eventually lifted because the protesters abstained from violence throughout the weekend.

The citizens rioting for justice were finally shown the tape they had demanded. On Saturday, officials released two police videos to the public, which depicted Scott being shot as he walked backwards with his hands by his side and no firearm pointed at the officers, as they had once reported.

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