Home / U.S / New Protests Erupt in Charlotte as Accounts of Police Shooting Diverge – New York Times
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New Protests Erupt in Charlotte as Accounts of Police Shooting Diverge – New York Times

The response of B.J. Murphy, an African-American activist here, could not have been more different: “Everybody in Charlotte should be on notice that black people, today, we’re tired of this,” he said, adding an epithet. “We’re tired of being killed and nobody saying nothing. We’re tired of our political leaders going along to get along; they’re so weak, they don’t have no sympathy for our grief. And we want justice.”

All three shootings are under investigation, and are rife with questions. The police in Columbus said that the BB gun wielded by 13-year-old Tyre King was built to look nearly identical to a Smith & Wesson Military & Police semiautomatic pistol. Mayor Andrew J. Ginther blamed the shooting, in part, on Americans’ “easy access to guns, whether they are firearms or replicas.”

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Flowers were left Wednesday at the parking space at an apartment complex in Charlotte, N.C., that was the site of a shooting. Credit Logan R. Cyrus for The New York Times

In Tulsa, the police said investigators found the drug PCP in the shooting victim’s S.U.V. The drug is known to induce erratic behavior in some users. But Mr. Crump, who is representing the family of the victim, Terence Crutcher, said the discovery of the drug, if true, would not justify the deadly shooting.

In an interview on Wednesday, Mr. Crutcher’s father, the Rev. Joey Crutcher, said his son had marched in protest of earlier police killings and had thought about how to protect himself during interactions with police officers.

They had planned to go to a church event aimed at teaching people how behave around the police and avoid becoming another hashtag shared on social media by Black Lives Matter protesters.

“I never thought this would happen to my family,” Mr. Crutcher said, adding that he had counseled his son all his life about how to behave around the police.

“I said, ‘Whenever you’re stopped by a police and you’re in that situation, raise your hands up, always let them see your hands, let them see that you are not going for a gun.’ And that is what Terence was doing. I said, ‘Always put your hands on your car.’ I made that specific, ‘your car.’ And that’s what Terence was walking to do on his car so that they could see his hands.”

John Barnett, a civil rights activist in Charlotte, said during a raucous news conference near the site of the shooting that Mr. Scott had been waiting for his son to arrive home from school.

“The truth of the matter is, he didn’t point that gun,” Mr. Barnett said. “Did he intend to really sit in a vehicle, waiting on his son to get home from school and then plot to shoot a cop if they pulled up on him?”

Adding to an atmosphere loaded with suspicion and mistrust, residents of the apartment complex gave varying accounts of Mr. Scott’s death.

Some differed from the police on which officer fired the shots, and others said that no one had tried to administer CPR for Mr. Scott as officials had said. Brentley Vinson, the officer who the police say shot Mr. Scott, is black, as is the police chief.

“Since black lives do not matter for this city, then our black dollars should not matter,” said Mr. Murphy, the activist. “We’re watching a modern-day lynching on social media, on television and it is affecting the psyche of black people.”

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Kerr Putney, the chief of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department in North Carolina, addressing the news media on Wednesday in Charlotte. Credit Logan R. Cyrus for The New York Times

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said Wednesday that the Justice Department “is aware of, and we are assessing, the incident that led to the death of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte.”

Responding to another police shooting, the state’s attorney in Baltimore County, Md., Scott D. Shellenberger, announced Wednesday that no charges would be filed against any of the officers involved in the Aug. 1 shooting death of Korryn Gaines or the shooting of her 5-year-old son.

In Charlotte, Rakeyia Scott, Mr. Scott’s wife, said on Wednesday the family was “devastated” by the shooting. She described her husband as “a loving husband, father, brother and friend” and called on protesters to remain peaceful.

At a campaign rally in Orlando, Fla., Hillary Clinton spoke about the shootings here and in Tulsa.

“There is still much we don’t know about what happened in both incidents, but we do know that we have two more names to add to a list of African-Americans killed by police officers in these encounters,’’ she said.

“It’s unbearable, and it needs to become intolerable. We also saw the targeting of police officers in Philadelphia last week. And last night in Charlotte, 12 officers were injured in demonstrations following Keith Scott’s death. Every day police officers are serving with courage, honor and skill.”

Her Republican rival, Donald J. Trump, reacted on Twitter. “Hopefully the violence & unrest in Charlotte will come to an immediate end,” he wrote. “To those injured, get well soon. We need unity & leadership.”

Unity, thus far, has been in short supply. On Friday, Mr. Trump earned the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police. But polls show that his support among African-Americans is negligible, even though he has singled them out in promising to solve the ills of poverty and violence that he has characterized as plaguing black neighborhoods.

On Wednesday, Mr. Jackson, the man who came here to mourn, was not thinking about the current presidential candidates.

The police, he said, “are out here killing people, and they don’t even know their backgrounds,” he said. “They could be killing the next president.”

Correction: September 21, 2016

An earlier version of this article gave an incorrect time for the shooting. It occurred just before 4 p.m., not after 4.

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