Street protests resumed Friday night in uptown Charlotte, as about 50 protesters gathered by 8 p.m. outside Mecklenburg County’s Jail Central. They were there to show solidarity with people who have been arrested after the Sept. 20 shooting of Keith Lamont Scott.
Dozens of people have been arrested on charges related to looting, vandalism, violent crime and marches that blocked uptown Charlotte streets. The turmoil began after a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer shot Scott outside his apartment complex in northeast Charlotte.
Charlotte Uprising, a coalition of activist groups from around North Carolina, led a march through SouthPark mall on Thursday after Police Chief Kerr Putney canceled a community forum scheduled for Central Church of God, organizers said. Uprising activists showed up to find a sign on the door saying the meeting had been canceled because police were still on duty and needed downtown.
Protesters carried a banner saying “Putney, Resign!” and chanted slogans calling for police involved in the Scott shooting to be criminally charged.
Friday’s rally started at 7 p.m. outside the jail. During last week’s marches, inmates at the jail blinked lights from their cells when protesters chanted outside. Some have expressed doubts that inmates could control lighting, but sheriff’s office spokeswoman Anjanette Flowers Grube said Friday that inmates have night lights that they have flashed during the marches.
Friday night’s protesters held placards at passing drivers that read, “Stop Killing Black People! Justice for Keith Scott and Justin Carr” and “Let Our People Go! Amnesty for Uprising Arrestees.”
They drew an occasional “beep-beep” of support.
“We want amnesty for all of the people in the uprising,” said Ashley Williams, a Charlotte Uprising organizer. “And we want the police chief and the mayor to resign.”
Williams said she and other protesters believe police killed Justin Carr, not the man charged in the case. Carr was shot in the head outside the Omni Hotel while attending a protest and died a day later. Police said the man they charged with murder confessed to the shooting.
“Historically, black people have been accused of crimes they had nothing to do with,” Williams said.