The city of Charlotte, North Carolina is under a state of emergency as the National Guard has been deployed to quell violent protests in the city. The move comes after rioting and looting by protestors over the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott, 43, reportedly by Officer Bentley Vinson, who is Black. Scott was killed by police while sitting in the parking lot of an apartment complex. Several witnesses say he was reading a book before he was shot by police, but police said Scott had a gun and failed to comply when asked to drop his weapon. Scott was a disabled father of seven.
Since the shooting that occurred two days ago, Charlotte has been in turmoil. It is being reported that a demonstrator was shot in the head outside the Omni Hotel yesterday and is in critical condition. According to witnesses, an unknown man started firing indiscriminately into the crowd of demonstrators. In addition, three other protesters and four police officers were taken to hospital after they were injured during rioting. It is also being reported that members of the media covering the unrest have been attacked. A CNN correspondent was body-slammed during a live broadcast.
Major corporations in the downtown area – including Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Duke Energy, have told employees to stay away from the area of unrest. It is being reported that several business including the NASCAR Hall of Fame have been vandalized and looted.
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory issued the following statement on Facebook:
I want to assure the people of North Carolina that our SBI has already been assisting the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department throughout the last 24 hours. Upon a very recent request of Chief Putney, the State Highway Patrol is sending in troopers to further help the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department. The state has many additional assets nearby to assist. Any violence directed toward our citizens or police officers or destruction of property should not be tolerated. I support and commend the law enforcement officials for their bravery and courage during this difficult situation.”