Protesters marched peacefully through Charlotte’s streets on Friday night, after the widow of Keith Smith released cell-phone video of her husband’s shooting at the hands of police.
Several activist groups gathered to demonstrate in Charlotte Saturday afternoon, united by calls for government transparency and to urge change in light of recent police shootings nationwide of unarmed black men.
The event – scheduled to include the local group The Tribe, Progress NC and the Trans and Queer People of Color Collective of Charlotte – began about 1 p.m. in Marshall Park.
Marshall Park has been the site of demonstrations and a vigil this week as hundreds of people have participated in Black Lives Matter events and other gatherings to protest the police shooting that killed 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott, a Charlotte resident, on Tuesday.
Rakeyia Scott, wife of Charlotte police shooting victim Keith Lamont Scott, released a cell phone video Friday that she recorded in the moments leading up to her husband's death. In the video, Scott is heard yelling "Keith! Don’t do it" seconds before the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department fire fatal shots.
Family of Keith Lamont Scott
A Facebook event announcing Saturday’s demonstration says organizers believe Scott was “profiled and killed by police” and accuses local police officials of not telling the truth about his murder. The organizers say Scott was reading a book in his car before police officers demanded he get out.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Chief Kerr Putney has said his officers did not find a book at the shooting scene while recovering evidence. Putney has said evidence he’s seen shows the officer was justified in using deadly force.
North Carolina’s top law enforcement agency is investigating. CMPD officer Brentley Vinson, 26, is on administrative leave – a standard practice for officers who have shot and killed a person on duty. Vinson is also black.
Putney and other authorities are being pressured to release patrol car dashcam and officer body cam video footage from the shooting and the moments leading up to Scott’s death. Two bystander videos, including one from Scott’s wife, shot on her phone, have been released to various media outlets already.
On Saturday, protesters said, they intend to “Come to Charlotte to make a historic stand and to demand dignity and respect for Black lives.”
The event description says the goal is to “show the nation that we stand against police violence that targets Black people and our communities. Let’s show that Charlotte, and the nation, will no longer tolerate the routine murders of Black people by an unaccountable system of policing.”
Protesters have taken to the streets of Charlotte following the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott on Tuesday. Officials allege a black officer opened fire on Scott after he emerged from his car with a gun in the University City area. Family members say Scott, a disabled black man, was holding a book.