US: State of emergency called after second night of unrest in Charlotte

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One person was shot and gravely wounded on Wednesday in a second night of unrest in Charlotte, North Carolina, officials said, as riot police dispersed unruly protesters after the fatal police shooting of a black man under disputed circumstances.

North Carolina’s governor later declared a state of emergency amid the disturbances and said the National Guard and state Highway Patrol troopers would be sent in to help police in Charlotte restore and maintain order.

Charlotte Police Chief Kerr Putney initially reported that a person shot during the protest had died, but city officials later posted a Twitter message saying the individual had been hospitalised in critical condition on life support. The city also said the gunshot was fired by one civilian at another, not by police. A police officer was also being treated for injuries suffered during Wednesday’s protests, it said.

Putney told Fox News: “We’re trying to disperse the crowd. We’ve been very patient, but now they’ve become very aggressive, throwing bottles and so forth, at my officers, so it’s time for us now to restore order.”

The flashpoint for Charlotte’s unrest was Tuesday’s fatal police shooting of Keith Scott, 43, who according to police was armed with a handgun and refused officers’ orders to drop the weapon. His family and a witness to the shooting said Scott was holding a book, not a firearm. Authorities have not released any video of the incident but the city’s mayor said she would view the footage on Thursday.

Governor Pat McCrory said he was acting at the request of the Charlotte police chief in sending National Guard and state troopers to assist local law enforcement. “Any violence directed toward our citizens or police officers or destruction of property should not be tolerated,” McCrory said in a statement.