North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has declared a state of emergency after two consecutive nights of massive protests in the city following a black man’s death in police shooting.
During the period of emergency, the National Guard and state Highway Patrol troopers will be sent in to help police in Charlotte restore and maintain order.
On Wednesday night, the second night of protests, one person was wounded after he was shot at. Charlotte Police Chief Kerr Putney initially reported that a person shot during the protest had died, but city officials later posted a Twitter message saying the individual had been hospitalized in critical condition on life support.
The city officials also said the gunshot was fired by one civilian at another, not by police. A police officer was also being treated for injuries suffered during Wednesday’s protests.
The protests had begun on Tuesday after 43-year-old Keith Scott was killed in police shooting. The police say, Scott was armed with a handgun and refused officers’ orders to drop the weapon.
On the contrary, Scott’s family and a witness to the shooting said Scott was holding a book, not a firearm.
Authorities have not yet released any video of the incident but the city’s mayor said she would view the footage soon.
Trouble began when a peaceful rally that turned violent after several hundred chanting demonstrators marched through downtown downtown Charlotte’s central intersection, confronting and surrounding groups of police patrols and their vehicles.
The police is said to have then unleashed volleys of rubber bullets, pepper spray, tear gas and flash-bang grenades to disperse the protesters, who began hurling fireworks and debris at the officers.
The confrontation grew more intense as a phalanx of helmeted police carrying shields advanced down a street, pushing back a crowd of demonstrators who scurried for cover as officers fired more tear gas.
Black activists and pastors called for an economic boycott of the city, and the American Civil Liberties Union urged the police to release the body of the black man and the dashboard camera footage of the incident.
(With inputs from agencies)