Charlotte, N.C., Police Prepare For Third Night Of Unrest Law enforcement in Charlotte, N.C., is preparing for a third night of violence following Tuesday's fatal shooting of a man by police. The National Guard has been called in to help.
NPR logo

Charlotte, N.C., Police Prepare For Third Night Of Unrest

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/495069478/495069479" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Charlotte, N.C., Police Prepare For Third Night Of Unrest

Charlotte, N.C., Police Prepare For Third Night Of Unrest

Charlotte, N.C., Police Prepare For Third Night Of Unrest

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/495069478/495069479" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Law enforcement in Charlotte, N.C., is preparing for a third night of violence following Tuesday's fatal shooting of a man by police. The National Guard has been called in to help.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Charlotte, N.C., is bracing for the possibility of more violence tonight. Protests have filled city streets for the past two nights since the fatal police shooting of an African-American man. The governor has declared a state of emergency, and city officials are calling for calm and peace. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch says the Justice Department is sending several members of its peacekeeping division to help. From member station WFAE in Charlotte, Gwendolyn Glenn has more.

GWENDOLYN GLENN, BYLINE: In downtown Charlotte today there was much heavier police presence than normal. Business owner Patrick Hairston has lived in the city all his life. He says it is a bit tense right now.

PATRICK HAIRSTON: Being from the South, if you make eye contact with somebody, you say, hey, how you doing? And that's just - it's common courtesy. But this morning, walking around downtown, they look down when they see you. They're not going to speak. The only person that's going to greet you is going to be another black person. And then with me having the dreadlocks, they're scared of me right now.

GLENN: Today in Charlotte, public officials held news conferences to calm anxious residents. Governor Pat McCrory has sent in the National Guard to deal with possible protests.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PAT MCCRORY: As governor, I firmly believe that we cannot tolerate any types of violence directed toward citizens or any type of destruction of property.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Chanting) Our streets.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Chanting) Whose streets?

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Chanting) Our streets.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Chanting) Whose streets?

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Chanting) Our streets.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Chanting) Whose streets?

GLENN: Last night a peaceful gathering turned violent. The protest stemmed from the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott. Police say he threatened officers with a gun, but Scott's family say he was in his car reading a book. Family attorney Justin Bamberg says there's still much they don't know, except this. Across the country, police view many African-Americans this way.

JUSTIN BAMBERG: They're guilty until proven innocent. They're a threat until they prove that they are not a threat. And quite frankly, many feel as though they are inhuman until they are proven to be human. That is the underlying problem.

GLENN: Bamberg says Scott didn't own a gun and that his wife saw him get shot. Today the NAACP called for the public release of the police video of Scott's shooting. Not releasing, they said, only would incite more violence. At a press conference, Charlotte Police Chief Kerr Putney said he would let Scott's family view the tape, but it doesn't tell the whole story.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

CHIEF KERR PUTNEY: What I can tell you that I saw is the video does not give me absolute, definitive visual evidence that would confirm that a person is pointing a gun.

GLENN: Putney says the tape does support the police account of why Scott was killed, but he didn't have plans to release it publicly because of the investigation. Charlotte's mayor, Jennifer Roberts, says she understands the frustration that some feel, but she says it goes beyond the shooting.

JENNIFER ROBERTS: We know we have a history of racial divide not just in Charlotte, in our country as a whole. We know that we have challenges. We know that people need to work together across differences better than we have done.

GLENN: Back in downtown Charlotte, Patrick Hairston hopes tonight will be peaceful, unlike the past two nights.

HAIRSTON: That didn't solve anything. They already fear us, so why would you make them fear you even more? We're not animals, so act like it.

GLENN: For now, city officials have not ordered a curfew. The police chief says that depends on what happens tonight. For NPR News, I'm Gwendolyn Glenn in Charlotte. [Post Broadcast Correction: A previous audio version of this story incorrectly stated the African-American man who was fatally shot by police in Charlotte, N.C., was unarmed. It has not been confirmed whether he was armed or unarmed.]

Copyright © 2016 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Correction Sept. 22, 2016

A previous audio version of this story incorrectly stated the African-American man who was fatally shot by police in Charlotte, N.C., was unarmed. It has not been confirmed whether he was armed or unarmed.