The family of a black man shot dead in North Carolina has released footage of the lead-up to his death. Tensions are on the rise as police refuse to release their own video of the incident.
A third night of protests against the fatal police shooting of a black man in Charlotte, North Carolina, were relatively peaceful after two violent nights of demonstrations that resulted in one person being shot dead by a civilian, nine people suffering injuries and 44 being arrested as the demonstrations morphed into riots on Wednesday and Thursday morning.
There was also widespread looting and vandalism - all of which compelled the mayor to declare an overnight curfew.
The upheaval was sparked Tuesday afternoon when a black police officer shot and killed 43-year-old Keith Scott in a parking lot. Violent protests ensued Tuesday and Wednesday nights, prompting the governor of North Carolina, Pat McCrory, to declare a state of emergency, while Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts announced a curfew from midnight to 6 am.
Police, however, allowed the demonstration to extend past midnight as long as the crowd remained peaceful, which it did.
Scott became the 214th black person killed by police in the US this year. All told, police have killed 821 people this year, according to the group Mapping Police Violence, which was born out of the ongoing protest movement.
The federal government doesn't track national-level police shootings, but Scott's death has, again, provoked widespread outrage and exasperation over police killings of unarmed civilians.
Gun or no gun
Police have maintained that Scott was holding a gun when he was shot, a claim his family denies. Scott's shooting was videotaped by police, but authorities have so far refused to make the video public. They have shown the video to Scott's family, which renewed calls for the video to be released.
"There's nothing in that video that shows him acting aggressively, threatening or maybe dangerous," said Justin Bamberg, one of the lawyers representing the family.
Scott's family has also released footage of the shooting recorded by his wife, Rakeyia Scott, which shows the confrontation between him and police but doesn't show the actual killing.
US Congressman Robert Pittenger, from North Carolina, exacerbated tensions further on Thursday when he told the BBC that black protesters were motivated by economic jealousy of whites.
"They hate white people because white people are successful and they're not," Pittenger said during a televised interview.
He later apologized on Twitter, saying, "What is taking place in my hometown breaks my heart. Today, my anguish led me to respond to a reporter's question in a way that I regret."
Meanwhile, in Tulsa, Oklahoma - 1,000 miles (1,600 km) west of Charlotte - a white female police officer has been charged with first-degree manslaughter in the deadly shooting of black motorist Terence Crutcher last week.
Police in Tulsa released that video, which shows an unarmed Crutcher walking back to his disabled vehicle in the middle of the road. The officer, Betty Shelby, faces a minimum of four years in prison if convicted.
bik/jil (Reuters, AFP, AP)