Leondra Head | Local & World Editor
After nearly two weeks of protests in Charlotte, North Carolina, Governor Pat McCrory lifts the city-wide curfew as rallies against police killing of Keith Lamont Scott became peaceful.
The Governor issued the curfew on Thursday, September 22 from midnight to 6 a.m. McCrory accepted a request from Charlotte’s police chief on Wednesday, declaring a state of emergency, calling in the National Guard to help restore order and to protect the downtown area.
Governor McCrory said the order was put into place “in order to more effectively protect the lives and property of the people within the City of Charlotte.”
Protests and riots broke out after 43-year-old, African American resident Keith Lamont Scott was shot and killed by Brently Vinson, a white Charlotte police officer. The protests resulted in the shutting down of Charlotte’s eight-lane Interstate 85.
Police released dash-cam footage just a week before a new North Carolina law would have been in effect. House bill-972 established that recordings made by law enforcement officials — including those from body and dashboard cameras — would no longer be a matter of public record. It was ratified on June 30 and signed by Governor McCrory on July 11. The bill that was signed into law in July would have made it much more difficult for the footage to become public.
Beginning October 1, footage captured by the police will be disclosed only to a person or representative of the person “whose image or voice” is included in the recording, according to the law. Anyone else interested in obtaining the recording will be required to make a formal, written request.
President Obama urged the use of police using body cameras, insinuating police departments can gain the trust of local communities. In December 2014, President Obama proposed an investment package to increase the use of the devices, requesting $75 million in federal funds that the White House said “could help purchase 50,000 body worn cameras” over three years.
Joile Jemmott, a sophomore, nursing major said, “Body cameras should be a tool to make law enforcement more transparent and accountable. Jemmott went on to say that it is a shame that North Carolina citizens have to suffer with this new law into effect.”
Scott’s death caused several days of protests that quickly turned into riots, with demonstrators and innocent bystanders. According to NBC News, protestors were seen looting businesses and smashing windows of buildings while chanting “Black lives matter” and “Hands up; don’t shoot.”
According to the Charlotte Police Department, Scott disregarded repeated demands to drop his gun, while neighborhood residents say he was holding a book and not a weapon, as he waited for his son to get off the school bus.
Racial tensions in the United States have reached boiling point after protests in Charlotte against police killings of black men turned increasingly violent, forcing the North Carolina governor to initially declare a state of emergency.
Charlotte Mayor, Jennifer Roberts said in a press conference, “I ask that the community come together and show their unity in a peaceful and legal manner.”
Julie Thompson, a sophomore, nursing major from Charlotte said, “I know that from the video footage that without a doubt Terence Crutcher had his hands in the air. It is unbelievable that the police department are standing firm on their story. The senseless killings of African American males has to stop.”
Bentley Vinson, the officer seen shooting Scott has been placed on leave, standard procedure in such cases. Vinson is a two-year member of the Charlotte Police Department.