Four people were arrested following protests Wednesday night in uptown Charlotte after the county’s top prosecutor said no charges would be filed against the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer who fatally shot Keith Lamont Scott.
Uptown streets were quiet early Thursday.
Mecklenburg County District Attorney Andrew Murray announced on Wednesday that he found no legal wrongdoing in the case, and denounced rumors spread about the case that were fueled by social media. “I’m extremely convinced that Mr. Vinson’s use of deadly force was lawful,” Murray said, as he laid out details of the case.
Scott, 43, was shot Sept. 20 by Officer Brentley Vinson during a confrontation with police outside his northeast Charlotte apartment. Video made at the scene records police calling on him to drop his gun, then four shots are heard. A gun, ankle holster and marijuana were found at the scene.
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Scott was black, as is Vinson.
In the aftermath of Scott’s death, Charlotte was shaken by several nights of protests that also drew international attention. After street violence, dozens of arrests and the death of one man in uptown, Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency.
Protesters gather outside Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department headquarters after the announcement that the police officer who fatally shot Keith Lamont Scott will not face charges. David T. Foster, III/The Charlotte Observer
Wednesday’s protests were mostly peaceful, CMPD said, and at its peak, there were approximately 75 to 100 protesters. Police said the department’s Civil Emergency Unit was on standby but never deployed Wednesday.
The four arrests were for obstructing traffic, with one person also charged with resisting a public officer.
Landon Rice, 22, James Marsicano, 23, Eleanor Everette, 16, and Ngogloan Tran, 21, were arrested, police said Thursday.
Marsicano also had the resisting a public officer charge. Tran is from Durham, Everette is from Jacksonville, N.C., Marsicano is a Charlotte resident and Rice is from Matthews, according to jail records. Rice also was arrested by CMPD Nov. 10 on a charge of resisting a public officer, records show.
The demonstrations by dozens of people were organized by the coalition Charlotte Uprising, whose members said they want to see more police transparency in investigations.
There were scuffles between police and protesters around 8:30 p.m. at the EpiCentre as the march continued through uptown. Also during the protest, some chanted that CMPD “murdered” Scott, while others there are “no good cops in a racist system.”
The protesters also wanted answers in the death of Justin Carr, 26, who was shot in the head during the uptown protests after Scott’s shooting in September.
It was not immediately clear if protesters would take to the streets again on Thursday.
An SBI probe
CMPD was the original agency investigating Scott’s shooting, but the State Bureau of Investigation took over when his wife, Rakeyia Scott, exercised her right under N.C. law to have the independent agency do the inquiry.
Vinson, who fired the shots, was immediately put on administrative leave, a routine step in such cases.
Vinson, 26, was in plain clothes but wore a vest that identified him as a police officer. He joined CMPD in 2014 and was assigned to the Metro Division. At the time of the shooting, he had no disciplinary actions on his personnel record.
CMPD Chief Kerr Putney has said he found nothing in the days after the shooting to indicate that Vinson acted inappropriately, given the totality of the circumstances. Putney also said he did not think his officers broke the law that day.
Officers made repeated commands for Scott to drop his weapon, Putney said. Police were reacting to what appeared to be an imminent threat, according to Putney.
Murray said that Scott bought the gun – a Colt .380 semi-automatic that had been stolen in Gaston County – 18 days before the confrontation for $100. One bullet was found in the chamber of the cocked gun, the safety was off. Murray also said Scott’s DNA was found on the grip and slide.
Murray said that speculation in the community that Scott was unarmed were untrue.
Staff writers Bruce Henderson, Katherine Peralta, Ely Portillo, Mark Washburn, Ames Alexander, Michael Gordon and Fred Clasen-Kelly contributed.
Check back for more on this developing story.