Activist Seeks Charlotte Boycott After Shooting

     
     (CN) – A Nation of Islam leader on Wednesday called for an economic boycott of Charlotte even as the city’s mayor appealled for calm after a police officer shot and killed a man near the University of North Carolina campus.
     B.J. Murphy, an outspoken community leader, called for the boycott at a news conference Wednesday morning, saying if black lives don’t matter, black money shouldn’t matter.
     The new conference, which was attended by several black leaders, was held at the same time that Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts was briefing reporters on the shooting and subsequent demonstrations that left at least two dozen people injured last night.
     Roberts urged the community to remain calm and wait for the facts in the case to be released before jumping to conclusions about the shooting.
     Roberts said she has already been contact with the governor’s office, the White House and the NAACP, and said the city was going to work to get out information as quickly as possible.
     In the meantime, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Wednesday the Justice Department is “assessing the incident that led to the death of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte” and that her office is in “regular contact with local authorities” about its investigation.
     Scott was fatally shot by a black Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officer, Brentley Vinton, Tuesday afternoon.
     According to the department, officers had gone to a apartment complex near the University of North Carolina campus on another matter when they came upon Scott, who was sitting in his car.
     Scott was not the subject of the original investigation.
     In a statement, the police said Scott got out of the car holding a gun, then got back inside. As officers approached, the statement said, Scott again got out of the car with gun in hand and “posed an imminent deadly threat to the officers who subsequently fired their weapon striking the subject.”
     However, a woman identifying herself as Scott’s daughter said he was unarmed and reading a book in his car when police shot and killed him. She said he was simply parked and waiting for a school bus to drop of his son when he was killed.
     Scott was taken to Carolinas Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
     Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said Wednesday morning that officers recovered a gun, but no book, at the scene.
     He also said the department is still viewing video from the scene, and that Vinton himself was not wearing a camera.
     Putney said at the time of the incident, Vinton was in plain clothes, wearing a vest and was accompanied by uniformed officers when they approached Scott’s car.
     According to the police chief, the officers told Scott several times to drop his gum, but that he ignored those commands.
     The police chief said the department can’t release body camera and dashboard camera video from other officers because of the ongoing investigation.
     He also said several police vehicles were damaged in the protests that followed Wednesday afternoon’s shooting.
     In commenting on the unfolding situation in Charlotte, Attorney General Lynch also revealed the Justice Department has opened an investigation into the death of Terrence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
     Crutcher was a black motorist whose car had broken down on the side of a highway. He was shot and killed by police.
     “These tragic incidents have once again left Americans with feelings of sorrow, anger and uncertainty,” Lynch said in prepared remarks she was to make at the International Bar Association’s annual conference in Washington, D.C.
     “They have once again highlighted — in the most vivid and painful terms — the real divisions that still persist in this nation between law enforcement and communities of color,” she said.
     Of the widespread protests in Charlotte, Lynch said, “Unfortunately, we saw several instances of violence during the protests and 12 police officers and a number of demonstrators were injured as a result.
     “Protest is protected by our Constitution and is a vital instrument for raising issues and creating change. But when it turns violent, it undermines the very justice that it seeks to achieve and I urge those demonstrating in Charlotte to remain peaceful in their expressions of protest and concern,” she said.
     Photo caption:
     Protesters clash with police in Charlotte, N.C. on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016. Authorities used tear gas to disperse protesters in an overnight demonstration that broke out Tuesday after Keith Lamont Scott was fatally shot by an officer at an apartment complex. (Jeff Siner/The Charlotte Observer via AP)

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