The Southern US city of Charlotte remains in a state of emergency following the police shooting of a black resident, Keith Lamont Scott. Another man shot during Wednesday's protests has since died.
Charlotte police announced late Thursday night that a man who was shot in the head during Wednesday night's protests had died. 26-year-old Justin Carr succumbed to injuries on Thursday in a local hospital.
Carr was shot during a night of violent protests that saw nine people injured and 44 people arrested. The violent clashes in Charlotte, North Carolina, were sparked by the fatal police shooting of a black man. Four police officers suffered non-life-threatening injuries, city officials said.
Police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters, some of whom were seen looting stores. The NASCAR Hall of Fame and the downtown Charlotte Hyatt hotel were among the places that were damaged. Several major banks with regional headquarters in Charlotte told their employees to stay home.
Many of the protesters say they reject the official account of how 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott was gunned down by a black police officer in the parking lot of an apartment complex earlier in the week.
A curfew may help curb the violence; however, Police Chief Putney said he had received enough reinforcements from other law enforcement agencies
The shooting came as the latest in a long series of fatal police shootings of black men across the United States, giving rise to the "Black Lives Matter" movement around the world.
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory had declared a state of emergency the previous night and called in the National Guard to assist the police.
The US federal Justice Department also agreed to send a team of trained peacekeepers to Charlotte.
Calls to release video footage
Though police have resisted releasing video shootage of the shooting publically, they did show it to Scott's family, who afterward said they only had "more questions than answers."
"While police did give him several commands, he did not aggressively approach them or raise his hands at members of law enforcement at any time," said an attorney for the family in a statement.
Clashes erupted after a peaceful vigil, with police reporting instances of violence and looting across central Charlotte
Police Chief Kerr Putney told reporters that the video did not clearly indicate whether Scott was holding a gun at the time of his death. The official account of the shooting says that Scott refused to drop a gun when he was shot.
If released, the video could be key to resolving the clashes between the police and local residents, who say he was unarmed and only holding on to a book. Police Chief Putney stressed that a gun was found next to the dead man, adding: "I can tell you we did not find a book."
Under North Carolina state law, a judge would need to approve the release of a police video - something which Putney said he wouldn't request during a pending investigation. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has joined calls for the police in Charlotte to release the footage.
The officer who shot Scott, Brently Vinson, has meanwhile been placed on leave, which is standard procedure in such cases.
Congressman stirs controversy
When asked during an interview with the BBC why people were protesting, Republican Congressman Robert Pittenger said it was because they "hate white people."
"The grievance in their mind is - the animus, the anger - they hate white people because white people are successful and they're not," Pittenger said.
He later apologized for the comment in a statement.
Meanwhile, Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts said that the city was considering the introduction of a curfew to get a grip on the violence - an idea rejected by Police Chief Putney. She told NPR News that the question of releasing the video of the shooting largely depended on how the investigation progressed.
"The transparency would be helpful if the footage is clear and if it covers all the different parts of what happened that evening. Since I haven't seen it, I'm not certain of that and that may be the case," Roberts said, adding that she planned to view the footage soon.
'Black Lives Matter'
Charlotte has witnessed racially charged protests before, but nothing on the same scale as the current violence. In 2013, Charlotte police charged one of their own, Randall Kerrick, with voluntary manslaughter after the white officer shot an unarmed black man. With a jury in deadlock, the charge was dropped in 2015. The city saw a few protests in response at the time - but no major violence.
The unrest that erupted in recent years in places such as Baltimore, Milwaukee and Ferguson, Missouri, had largely bypassed Charlotte - until now. With one in three residents of the Southern city being black, the case of Keith Lamont Scott's shooting is bound to leave a deep mark on Charlotte, regardless of the justification for the shooting.
ss, blc/jil, kl (AP, Reuters, dpa)