Fri, 23 Sep 2016 10:05 UTC
Unlike on the two previous evenings, however, the demonstrations on Thursday were apparently entirely peaceful. The only encounter with police came when some protesters climbed onto Interstate 277 and stood in the middle of the highway. A line of police officers with shields and face masks advanced on the protesters, and many dispersed and climbed back up embankments off the road.
The demonstrators - protesting over the shooting dead of a black man by police on Tuesday - eventually dispersed at around 1.40am. Before doing so, they huddled together and raised their right fists into the air.
"Don't forget our message," said one of the protest leader, who gave his name as Chewy Torres. "Last night the news showed us looking like looters. We have to know what we stand for. We have to respond with love."
Mayor Jennifer Roberts had signed documents on Thursday night to put in effect a curfew in the North Carolina city from midnight until 6am. But as midnight passed, several hundred protesters continued to march and chant and it became clear that police would not enforce the rule while the crowds remained peaceful. The presence of up to 100 members of the clergy among the protesters was credited by many as helping keep things peaceful.
"No peace, no justice," went one of the chants. "No racist police."
Dominique Smith said he had been walking for more than five hours and had to be up for work at 6am. "I reckon I've only had about five hours of sleep since the shooting happened."
The demonstrations followed the shooting on Tuesday of a black man, Keith Lamont Scott, by a police officer. Officials have claimed that he was armed, but his family has insisted he was sitting in a car and reading a book as he waited for his daughter to return from school.
On Thursday evening, the family of Mr. Scott disputed claims that he represented a threat to officers, after they were shown videos of the moment he was killed, the Independent reported.
Relatives of the father-of-seven watched the two videos of his shooting by a black police officer on Tuesday afternoon, after they requested officials in the city of Charlotte to let them see them.
Charlotte Police Chief Kerr Putney said earlier on Thursday he woud not release the body and dashboard camera video while the criminal investigation into Tuesday's shooting continues. He agreed, however, to show it to the family.
Yet relatives of the 43-year-old said the video should be made public. Many demonstrators also demanded that the footage be released for the sake of transparency. "If they released the video, it could solve a lot of problems," said one young man, Mike Trapp.
In a statement, family lawyer Justin Bamberg said though the videos were difficult to watch, their release would serve transparency and the greater public good.
In the video, Mr Scott can be seen exiting his vehicle in a calm manner, and he did not aggressively approach police, the family said.
( No Comments )