Charlotte officers attacked with chemical agent as arrest made in civilian shooting

CMPD suspects destruction and looting

CMPD posted numerous images of individuals wanted in relation to “destruction and looting” amid protests and riots in Charlotte. (via CMPD on Facebook)

Police officers in Charlotte are being treated after being sprayed with a chemical agent and an arrest has been made for the shooting death of a civilian during chaos on Wednesday.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Dept. is providing updates via Twitter amid protests and riots in the city after an officer shot Keith Lamont Scott. In the aftermath of the shooting, a curfew was put in place but it appeared to not be enforced on Thursday evening.

Thus far, a police video of the shooting hasn’t been released to the public.

The officer who shot Scott is, like the deceased, black. The officer wasn’t wearing a body camera. The Charlotte Observer said the officer “was reportedly wearing plain clothes and a clearly marked CMPD vest.” That disclosure upended claims among activists that the deceased might have been confused by the absence of a uniform on the officer who fired his weapon.

The CMPD’s Twitter updates include people arrested for looting and property damage. On Thursday evening, the department said two officers were being treated after being sprayed with a chemical agent “by demonstrators.”

Charlotte, like a number of other large urban cities, has struggled with violence, and the latest report from City-Data showed the murder rate stayed above the national average from 2002-2014.

Recent crimes among the city’s population included the September 7 murder of Donsha Seren Rankin, 20, who was pregnant. 

During Labor Day weekend, a resident was arrested after a shooting at an area mall. The victim survived.

In 2015, after 12 shootings during Labor Day weekend, Fox 46 TV reported the city had “launched a crackdown on violent crime.” 

Among the five people killed was 7 year old Kevin Antonio Calderon Rodas. Kevin was shot during a birthday party for another child. When police arrived on the scene, they heard shots nearby and discovered a woman who had been shot. She died.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Fraternal Order of Police claimed during an interview on CNN that most arrests for violence during demonstrations involved outsiders:

“This is not Charlotte that’s out here.  These are outside entities that are coming in and causing these problems. These are not protestors, these are criminals.

We’ve got the instigators that are coming in from the outside.  They were coming in on buses from out of state.  If you go back and look at some of the arrests that were made last night.  I can about say probably 70% of those had out-of-state IDs.  They’re not coming from Charlotte.” [Via Zero Hedge] 

By Friday, CMPD announced the arrest of Rayquan Borum in relation to the shooting of another man during the chaos on Wednesday. The race of the victim has not been revealed. Rumors floated claiming the man was killed by a policeman. That isn’t the case, and is one of many examples of false information distributed after controversy and chaos break loose.

Protests in Charlotte have a peaceful component made up of activists, but it is also obvious that others agitate and incite to gain cover for looting and violence. Whether gangs are related to the violence hasn’t been disclosed.

The shooting of the man in Charlotte is, like other shootings, a unique case based on circumstances most of us didn’t witness. Unfortunately, political profiteers, possibly attempting to drum up support during a major election year, lump such incidents into one single narrative regardless of damages to the local community.

No protests occurred after the 2015 death of the 7-year-old or after the recent killing of the pregnant woman.

In 2011 an FBI report noted gang membership in Charlotte had grown more than 40 percent since 2009. A summary of the report analyzed by Crime in Charlotte noted “gangs are responsible for more than half of all violent crime” in the city. The summary didn’t note percentages of the gangs who were local street or transnational with origins in other countries.

There have been no protests over gang violence in the city, and the topic is never addressed by national media when violence breaks out among ‘protesters’.

You can follow the Charlotte police updates on Twitter @CMPD.

(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Sept. 23, 2016)

About Kay Day

Kay B. Day is a freelance writer who has published in national and international magazines and websites. The author of 3 books, her work is anthologized in textbooks and collections. She has won awards for poetry, nonfiction and fiction. Day is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Authors Guild.

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