Charlotte Protests Escalate as Police Refuse to Release Video

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charlotte protests vigil

It is the third day since the Charlotte protests began, and the atmosphere on the streets of the North Carolina town is increasingly tense. Protesters broke curfew last night, refusing to leave after the designating hour.

In an attempt to stop the protests, mayor Jennifer Roberts imposed a curfew that is should last from midnight to 6 in the morning. It’s true that the number of protesters has decreased since the first day the demonstrations started. After midnight, when the protesters should have left the streets, the people started chanting “What curfew”? as they continued to march through the town. Police Captain Mike Campagna decided that the protesters could carry on, as long as they didn’t become violent. The crowds slowly dispersed at around 2 a.m. on Friday.

Earlier on Thursday, the Charlotte Police Chief, Kerr Putney announced they had no intention to release the videos that could explain what happened during the shooting. This came in spite of the fact that many, including civic leaders, demanded more transparency on their part.

This prompted the crowds to cry out “Release the tapes!” as they walked throughout the streets of Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Charlotte protests are some of the most intense ones of the past two years. They have caught the whole nations attention. After just two days of protests, the National Guard stepped in to try an stabilize the situation. Many Charlotte residents chose to stay in their houses during these past few days, to avoid the chaos on the streets.

The police used tear gas against the crowds on Thursday morning. The protesters had blocked a major Charlotte street, and as a result, traffic grinded to a halt. The crowds quickly disappeared after police, fitted with riot gear, started firing pepper balls towards them. Pepper balls are similar to paintball projectiles, but are filled with a stinging substance.

Why the Charlotte Protests Escalated

There are probably several different factors that lead to the escalation of the Charlotte protests. On the one hand, many were already riled up following the death of Terrence Crutcher, earlier that week, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. A video showed the 40-year old African-American man as he was fatally shot by a police officer, while keeping his hands above his head.

On the other hand, there are still a lot of inconsistencies surrounding the death of Keith Lamont Scott. Police officers who were present during the shooting claimed Scott had a gun, and he pointed it at them. He refused to put it down, in spite of the police’s orders. They claim to have found the gun after Scott was taken to the hospital, where he later died. But Scott’s family say he never had a gun, and was just reading a book when the shooting occurred.

The incident was caught on tape, by the bodycams and dash cams of the police officers. This video evidence could finally reveal the truth about what happened. But the police refuse to reveal the footage.

So far, the police have arrested 44 protesters. One person who was critically injured during an altercation between police and protesters died as a result of his injuries. As of yet, police don’t have a suspect.

Image Source: Flickr

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