Protesters march near NFL game after release of Charlotte shooting video

by VOV26 September 2016 Last updated at 10:39 AM

VTV.vn - A crowd of more than 100 chanted and marched outside an NFL game in Charlotte on September 25, after the release of two videos showing the fatal shooting of a black man by police officers.

Angry protesters have filled the streets of Charlotte every day since the September 20 killing of Keith Scott, 43, whom police said was armed when officers shot him.

September 25's gathering outside the stadium where the National Football League's Charlotte Panthers played and lost to the Minnesota Vikings was smaller than demonstrations earlier in the week. The main protest broke up before the game finished and the stadium emptied without incident.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department on Saturday released body-cam and dashboard videos showing parts of September 20's confrontation. But the footage offered no clear evidence that Scott was holding a gun at the time.

The city became the latest flashpoint in two years of tense protests over U.S. police killings of black men, many of them unarmed. The protests in Charlotte, one of the U.S. Southeast's most vibrant urban centers, have stayed peaceful for the most part but on September 21 violent clashes erupted between protesters.

Small groups of police in riot gear chatted with fans as they arrived for the football game.

"Black lives matter," the demonstrators chanted. "We don't need no riot gear. Why are you in riot gear?" As their numbers swelled, police officers on bicycles kept the protesters out of the path of arriving fans.

Among them was Simon Gebrekristos, a 26-year-old Panthers fan who works at a gas station. He arrived at the stadium holding tickets he said had cost him $160, but decided against going inside after seeing the protesters.

"I can go to the game any other time," he said.

Inside the stadium, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton signaled his support during the pre-game workout by wearing a T-shirt with a Martin Luther King Jr. quote: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice anywhere."

About two thirds of NFL players are black, and several players in the league, including San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, have taken to bending down on one knee during the pre-game singing of the national anthem in protest at police violence.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said his department had planned to "expend significant public safety resources" at the arena, which can hold more than 70,000 people.

Charlotte declared the game an "extraordinary event" under its municipal code, giving police the power to stop people from carrying blades, projectiles and other objects into a certain area.

The previous night, hundreds of people marched through the city center on a fifth night of demonstrations that stretched into Sunday morning, including white and black families protesting police violence.

A Panthers fan sympathized with the protesters but did not think they would succeed in changing policing.

"I get the message the protesters are trying to send," Joe Mader, 24, said. "I think it's smart that they're out here. I'm happy to have them here."

On September 25, police released videos showing Scott's shooting in the parking lot of a Charlotte apartment complex.

Putney acknowledged that the videos themselves were "insufficient" to prove Scott held a gun but said other evidence completed the picture.

Police said officers trying to serve an arrest warrant for a different person caught sight of Scott with marijuana and a gun, sitting in a car in a parking lot.

Both Scott's family and protesters have disputed the police statements that Scott was carrying a gun.

One of the released videos from a police dashboard camera shows Scott exiting his car and backing away from it, hands at side. Police shout to him to drop the gun, but it is not clear that he has anything in his hand. Then shots break out and Scott drops to the ground.

Police released photos of a marijuana cigarette, an ankle holster they said Scott was wearing, and a handgun, which they said was loaded and had Scott's fingerprints and DNA.

But Scott's family, which released its own video of the encounter on Friday, said the police footage showed the father of seven was not acting aggressively and that the police shooting made no sense, with no attempt to de-escalate the situation. The family video, shot by Scott's wife, was also inconclusive on the question of a gun.

Many black Americans have complained that they have long faced disproportionate use of force by some police departments, but the surge in smartphones and video recording devices has forced national attention on a string of recent episodes.

In recent days, a white police officer shot a 13-year-old black boy in Columbus, Ohio, and a white police officer in Tulsa, Oklahoma, shot an unarmed black man.


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