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Charlotte police use tear gas on protesters after fatal shooting of black man

The family of Keith Lamont Scott have questioned the police's version of events 

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Wednesday 21 September 2016 13:50 BST
Police used tear gas to disperse protesters
Police used tear gas to disperse protesters (AP)

A dozen police officers have been injured and a city is on edge after protests broke out following the shooting dead of a black man by police in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Police used tear gas to disperse demonstrators who took to the streets after the shooting of 43-year-old Keith Scott by officers on Tuesday afternoon. Police claimed the man had emerged from a car with a gun and was threatening them, while family members said he was sitting in a car reading a book. They also said he was disabled.

“He didn’t have a gun,” a woman identifying herself as his sister told local television. “He wasn’t messing with nobody.”

Charlotte police said officers had gone to the complex at about 4pm looking for a suspect with an outstanding warrant when they saw Mr Scott, who was not the suspect they were looking for, inside a car, department spokesman Keith Trietley said in a statement.

Officers said they saw Mr Scott get out of the car with a gun and then get back in, Mr Trietley said.

Relatives of Keith Lamont Scott said was sitting in a car with a book (Facebook)

When officers approached, the man exited the car with the gun again. At that point, officers deemed the man a threat and at least of them one fired a weapon, he said.

As the various narratives collided, protesters took to the streets of Chartlotte and a number of police vehicles were destroyed in the area near to where the fatal shooting took place.

Protests erupt after officers kill black man in North Carolina

The Associated Press said that a large group of demonstrators gathered near the apartment complex where the incident happened. By the early hours of Wednesday morning, demonstrators occupied a segment of Interstate Highway 83.

The shooting occurred a day after police in Tulsa, Oklahoma, released video showing the moment Terence Crutcher was shot dead by one of their officers on Friday, adding to scrutiny of police departments across the US for the apparently routine killing of unarmed black people.

Relatives of Keith Scott have questioned the police's version of events (AP)

Later on Wednesday it appeared that traffic was flowing again on Interstate 85, hours after protesters blocked the highway and television footage showed some apparently looting semi-trucks and setting their contents on fire.

No protesters could be seen around 5am, but broken glass and rocks littered the ground where a police car had been vandalised during protests earlier.

Officer Brentley Vinson, who shot Mr Scott, has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure in such cases. Mr Vinson, who is also African American, has been with the department for two years.

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