State of emergency declared as US police killing protests continue

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory on Wednesday declared a state of emergency after violent protests in the city of Charlotte continued for a second night.

"I have declared a State of Emergency & initiated efforts to deploy the Nat'l Guard & Highway Patrol to assist local law enforcement in CLTstate of emergency," McCrory said on Twitter.

One man was shot during the protests and earlier reports said he had died of his injuries, however the City of Charlotte later said that he was still alive.

"Civilian who suffered gunshot wound during protests is on life support, critical condition. Not deceased," the City of Charlotte said on Twitter.

Seven law-enforcement officers and one civilian were also taken to hospital for injuries sustained during the protests, city council official Kenny Smith said.

Protesters rushed police wearing riot gear at a hotel in central Charlotte and officers fired tear gas to disperse the crowd, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Putney said that 16 officers were injured in protests that erupted on Tuesday night, hours after Keith Lamont Scott, 43, was shot in a parking lot.

A group of about four police officers looking for a wanted fugitive at an apartment complex encountered Scott sitting in a car, Putney said.

He said Scott, who was not the man being sought, "exited the vehicle armed with a handgun" before getting back in the vehicle. The officers approached and loudly ordered him to drop the gun and exit the vehicle; Putney said witnesses have confirmed the warning to Scott.

When Scott again stepped out of the car with the handgun, he ignored police orders to drop the weapon and was shot. Officers "saw the weapon in his hand the second time he exited the vehicle," Putney said.

Police called for an ambulance and performed CPR until medics arrived, he said.

Scott died shortly later in hospital. The officer who killed Scott was African-American, had two years on the Charlotte Mecklenburg police force and had been placed on administrative leave, Putney said.

Scott's family has denied that he was armed, and says he was only holding a book that he was reading while waiting to pick up his son. Their allegations were widely distributed through social media.

"We did not find a book," Putney said. "We did find a weapon."

The weapon was found in "very close proximity" to Scott, and the entire incident was played out in seconds, Putney said. Investigators were examining a variety of videos of the incident, he said.

"I can tell you from the facts that the story's a little bit different from how it's been portrayed so far," Putney said.

Within hours of Scott's death, hundreds of people gathered in the neighbourhood where the shooting occurred, shouting at police and carrying signs with the slogan "Black Lives Matter," which has become a nationwide movement in response to police killings in the last two years.

The US Justice Department was examining Scott's death, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Wednesday.

Lynch also said that the Justice Department opened a civil rights investigation this week into the death of a reportedly unarmed black man who was shot dead by police Friday in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

"These tragic incidents ... have once again highlighted - in the most vivid and painful terms - the real divisions that still persist in this nation between law enforcement and communities of colour," she said.

Last update: Thu, 22/09/2016 - 08:31
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