Keith Lamont Scott, father of seven, was shot by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer last Tuesday evening, Sept., 20. The officer responsible, Brently Vinson, is currently on paid administrative leave after the incident sparked violent controversy.
Scott’s family claims he was sitting in his car with nothing more than a book, waiting to pick up his son from the school bus. Later on, police detectives found a gun reportedly belonging to Scott. In a press release, the police said, “The subject got back out of the vehicle armed with a firearm and posed an imminent deadly threat to officers who subsequently fired their weapon striking the subject.”
Hundreds approached the scene after the shots rang out. Approximately sixteen officers, some dressed in full riot gear, were injured during the disruptions afterward. It was confirmed that tear gas was used against the gathered witnesses. Protests ensued well into the next day, even shutting down Interstate 85 for several accounts of vehicle vandalism and arson. On Wednesday night, one civilian was shot by another civilian during a protest. The civilian has not been identified but is in critical condition.
One positive thing that happened is the appearance of Ken Nwadike, known across the internet as the ‘Free Hug Guy’. During a protest he hugged police officers and protesters alike, spreading his motivational message and acting to de-escalate the high tempered situation.
The officers on the scene were dressed in civilians’ clothing and did not have anything identifying them as law enforcement. Charlotte’s police chief, Kerr Putney, attempted to clarify the situation as he felt the media had distorted it. “I can tell you a weapon was seized, a handgun, I can also tell you we did not find a book that was made reference to,” stated Putney. “We did find a weapon, and the witnesses corroborated it to, beyond just the officers.”
Allegedly, the police were not even in the area for Scott. Instead they were attempting to serve an arrest warrant for another man when they encountered Scott in his car. Scott’s daughter live-streamed part of the emotional experience on Facebook. Due to the violent nature of the protests, the National Guard has been called, as well as Highway Patrol, and the Charlotte mayor is considering instituting a curfew. The footage of the initial incident has not been revealed, despite intense public insistence.