Charlotte Protest Hits Close to Home

Peaceful protests have turned into dangerous riots for a few nights in Charlotte, NC. The protests are following a CMPD officer involved shooting resulting in a fatality.

Keith Lamont Scott was shot and killed by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Brentley Vinson on Wednesday after being pulled over. Officer Vinson was searching for a suspect with multiple outstanding warrants. According to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney, Scott exited his vehicle holding a gun. In a media conference held on Wednesday, Chief Putney said that after repeatedly telling Scott to drop his weapon, Officer Vinson shot and killed him. 

The protests started around the University of North Carolina at Charlotte on Wednesday evening. Late into Wednesday night is when they turned violent. Police stood in rows with riot gear on. After hours of protests, police released cans of tear gas into the atmosphere. Despite this, protestors stayed put.

Just before midnight, protestors crashed in windows of police cruisers, threw rocks at ongoing cars, and walked to a near-by Walmart and crashed the windows and doors of the building. They then continued to walk towards I-85 where they stopped traffic, took cargo from a tractor-trailer, and lit it on fire.

This was only the beginning.

In a press conference on Thursday morning with Chief Putney, Putney said that 44 arrests were made on Wednesday night. Chief Putney said that with consulting with county officials, the mayor, and the governor, Charlotte was declared in a State of Emergency at 12:30 a.m.

“The reason I sought that status is quite clear. I wanted to protect our property and I wanted to protect our people,” said Chief Putney. Chief Putney has also asked the community to help the police with the use of social media. Putney asked that if the public sees something wrong in the midst of the protest, to tell someone. “We use those opportunities to fully investigate all crimes and all allegations that are made relative to what goes on in a chaotic scene,” said Chief Putney.

A second night of protests broke out on Thursday evening in Uptown Charlotte. Thursday night’s protest quickly turned violent and left broken windows, doors, and shattered glass all around the city. One civilian was shot and killed by another civilian. Once again, tear gas was released, but protestors stayed put.

The wife of Keith Scott released a statement saying: “As a family, we respect the rights of those who wish to protest, but we ask that people protest peacefully.”

The National Guard has been called to help the city of Charlotte.

The protests in Charlotte have made national headlines, and many are reacting to the violence. Others have released statements including the NAACP, Hilary Clinton, Donald Trump, Cam Newton, and Michael Jordan. Many are expressing the concern that the right to protest is valid, but violence is only hurting the city.

However, not all protests have been violent. Many demonstrators have held vigils for Keith Lamont Scott throughout the city.

The Charlotte protests are hitting close to home. Many Appalachian State students and families are from or have ties to the Charlotte area. Chancellor Everts released a statement to the Appalachian State community on Thursday morning reminding everyone of the resources available on campus to engage in peaceful student interaction.

We will watch what will happen to the Charlotte community in the days to come in hopes that the violence will stop and peaceful protests will be made. 

*Update: The CMPD has released the video of the fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott.*