Civil rights activists and neighborhood residents gathered Wednesday morning on the spot where Keith Lamont Scott was fatally shot Tuesday by police and demanded answers to what they say are inconsistencies between police and witness accounts of the shooting.
Some people who say they were witnesses said the police officer who shot Scott was white; police have said it was a black officer named Brentley Vinson.
Activists also called for an economic boycott of Charlotte and peaceful protesting in the wake of the shooting, while asking the community to mobilize for answers and for an end to what they called “a virus” of police actions against blacks.
“Before you march, you’ve got to mobilize,” John Barnett, leader of Charlotte civil rights group True Healing Under God, told reporters. “We’re not going to be doing marches. It’s all about fighting the system and getting rid of these dirty cops that’s inside. You’ve got a virus, you need some chemotherapy to get that virus and that cancer out. There’s some cops who have that same mentality in Charlotte.”
Nation of Islam representative B.J. Murphy called for an economic boycott by African-Americans in Charlotte.
“Since black lives don’t matter for this city, then our black dollars shouldn’t matter. It is affecting the psyche of black people and that’s what you saw last night,” Murphy said, referring to anti-police protests in which 16 CMPD officers were injured. Interstate 85 was also closed for a time.
“Keep your money in your pocket and let everybody feel the pain, economically, of what we’re feeling physically when you kill us,” Murphy said. “I say, take your money out of Northlake Mall. Take your money out of SouthPark mall. ... Hell, let’s not even have the CIAA this year. How are you going to have a party, have a drink in your hand, if we don’t get no damn justice.”
Barnett and others called into question the actions of police and the account police have given of the Tuesday afternoon shooting.
Neighbor Taheshia Williams says she witnessed the shooting from the second floor of her home after she says she heard Scott’s wife screaming “don’t shoot.”
“The officer was not black. He was white,” Williams said. Police have repeatedly said the officer who shot Scott was Vinson, who is black.
Police Chief Kerr Putney said that police had been searching in the University City area for someone who had an outstanding warrant at The Village at College Downs complex on Old Concord Road.
Neighbors say they believe Scott was waiting as he does most afternoons for his elementary school-aged son to get off the bus at the entrance to the complex. They said Scott was disabled by an accident and is unable to stand in the sun, so he parked his white truck in the shade on Tuesday before the shooting occurred.
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