Charlotte cops issue nearly a hundred warrants related to protests

Posted at 11:40 PM, Sep 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-29 23:40:28-04

CHARLOTTE — Police in Charlotte have issued a total of 95 warrants in connection with a week of violent protests that ended Tuesday, according to a statement Thursday from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

Some of those warrants have already been served, and police records show 22 people, almost all from Charlotte, were arrested during and after protests. They face charges — some misdemeanors, some felonies — related to looting, vandalism and assault.

“These arrests are largely due to the countless hours of video surveillance and tireless work from investigators to bring these suspects to justice,” the statement said.

Police are asking the public’s help in identifying more suspects. During the week of protests a total of 82 people were taken into custody and about a quarter of them were charged with crimes related to looting and vandalism.

The protests started after a Charlotte police officer shot and killed 43-year old Keith Lamont Scott, fueling the national debate over whether police are too quick to use deadly force, particularly against African-American men. Scott was black and so is Brentley Vinson, the officer who shot him.

Protests turned violent

The first two nights after the shooting quickly turned violent when protesters started throwing objects at police, broke store front windows and looted some shops. One protester was shot dead on the second night. A curfew was enacted and national guard troops helped keep the peace in the city after the governor issued a state of emergency.

Protesters were demanding to see dash cam video of the encounter and after it’s release family members of Scott and police agreed that more information was needed to find out what happened.

No visual of gun in hand

“You can’t clearly identify what, if anything, is in his hand,” attorney Justin Bamberg, who represents the Scott family, said at a news conference Saturday evening. Police had said there is no visual evidence that he held a gun, but they released a photo Saturday of a small pistol recovered at the scene.

Scott’s daughter said her father was in his SUV reading a book, waiting for a son to come home from school.

Charlotte’s police chief Kerr Putney has said the totality of the evidence will show that the shooting was justified.

Officers decided to approach Scott that day after Vinson saw Scott hold up a gun while in his SUV, police have said.

Police say Vinson opened fire after Scott stepped out of a vehicle with a gun in his hand and didn’t obey commands to drop it.

But Justin Bamberg, an attorney representing the Scott family, said “according to his wife, he did not have a gun and she did not see a gun.”

She is seen pleading with police not to shoot her husband in a video released by the family.