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In Charlotte, protests and call for a boycott after a police shooting

Protests boiled over in Charlotte, North Carolina, within hours of the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott. His sister said he was unarmed, but the officers say he did have a gun. William Brangham reports on the ensuing turmoil.

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  • GWEN IFILL:

      It’s an all-too- familiar story, in a new setting.  This time, the city of Charlotte is on edge, awaiting a second night of protests over the police killing of a black man.

    The drama began with a Tuesday confrontation that sparked a night of trouble.

    William Brangham begins our coverage.

  • WILLIAM BRANGHAM:

      Within hours of the fatal shooting, protests boiled over in North Carolina’s largest city.  The victim was 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott.

    And his sister, who didn’t give her name, said he was unarmed.

  • WOMAN:

      They said, hands up, he got a gun, he got a gun.  Pow, pow, pow, pow.  That’s it.  He had no gun.

  • WILLIAM BRANGHAM:

      Another woman, claiming to be Scott’s daughter, went on Facebook, saying he’d had a book, not a gun, and also had an unspecified disability.

    In short order, a crowd blocked traffic on Interstate 85, throwing rocks, and destroying police cars.  Some looted a tractor-trailer and set it on fire.  Others broke into a nearby Wal-Mart.  Police eventually used tear gas to quell the violence, but 16 officers were injured.

    This morning, police chief Kerr Putney urged people to step back and be calm.

  • KERR PUTNEY, Charlotte Police Chief:

      It’s time to change the narrative, because I can tell you from the facts that the story is a little bit different as to how it’s been portrayed so far, especially through social media.

  • WILLIAM BRANGHAM:

      As Putney told it, officers had been at an apartment complex, searching for a suspect, when they saw Scott get out of a car.  They say he did have a gun, and refused to put it down.

  • KERR PUTNEY:

      In spite of the verbal commands, Mr. Scott, as I said, exited his vehicle armed with a handgun, as the officers continued to yell at him to drop it.  He stepped out, posing a threat to the officers, and officer Brentley Vinson subsequently fired his weapon, striking the subject.

  • WILLIAM BRANGHAM:

      The officer, who is also black, was placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure in such cases.

    Meanwhile, local activists and ministers called for an economic boycott of Charlotte.

  • JOHN BARNETT, Civil Rights Activist:

      Across the country, we are being shot down, shot down.  Very few cops go to jail for that.

  • WILLIAM BRANGHAM:

      And by late this afternoon, protests were starting up again.  This incident came just a day after graphic video from Tulsa, Oklahoma, that showed an officer shooting an unarmed black man.

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