Protests have erupted in Charlotte, North Carolina, in response to the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, a 43-year-old disabled black man tragically killed by police on the afternoon of September 20. Hundreds of protesters have gathered at the site where Scott was killed, demanding justice for the man they allege was merely reading a book at the time of the shooting. Police officers in riot gear have since been called to the area and allegedly fired tear gas into the crowd in order to break up the protest, The Charlotte Observer reported.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer Brentley Vinson fatally shot Scott in the parking lot of a University City apartment complex Tuesday afternoon. Officers allege that they were searching for someone with an outstanding police warrant in the apartment complex when they saw Scott exit his vehicle with a gun. Scott was not the person officers were searching for. It should also be noted that North Carolina is, in fact, an open carry state.
According to a police report, Scott "posed an imminent deadly threat to the officers, who subsequently fired their weapon striking the subject" after he exited his vehicle a second time with a firearm. The 43-year-old father was pronounced dead after being taken to the local Carolinas Medical Center. The police also said they recovered the firearm he was allegedly holding at the time.
The protesters that have since gathered at the site of the shooting, as well as Scott's family and an eyewitness, alleged that Scott was not armed, but was reading a book. Bustle has reached out to the City of Charlotte for comment.
Family members claimed that contrary to the police officers' statement, Scott was allegedly unarmed and waiting for his son to be dropped off by a school bus.
According to a report from The Huffington Post, this type of police shooting is not uncommon in the Charlotte area. This shooting marks the sixth time a Charlotte-Mecklenburg officer has fatally shot a civilian in the past year alone. In the previous five shootings, the district attorney found the officers' actions justified.
The officers involved in this shooting have been placed under standard, paid leave, and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Department says it has begun a preliminary investigation of the shooting.