What started as a peaceful vigil for Scott,43, a black man who was fatally shot by a police officer Tuesday, turned into an angry march with protesters disputing authorities’ official account of how the man died during his interaction with police.
According to the Associated Press, the march turned violent after a protester was shot and wounded as marchers charged riot police. City officials said the protestor was not shot by law enforcement.
Speaking with Global’s The Morning Show, freelance photojournalist Marcus DiPaola described the scene after “police just lost control of the city.”
“The night started out pretty peacefully with protesters just hanging out in a city park and talking to each other,” DiPaola explained. “But, it got very nasty very fast when they moved downtown and there were so many teargas grenades and flash grenades and pepper balls being shot.
“There was no way for anybody to really take off their gas masks if they had one or even try and breath if they didn’t have one. It was complete chaos,” the photojournalist said.
Authorities said Scott was holding a handgun and was shot after refusing multiple demands to drop it. Scott’s family and at least one witness insist the man was holding a book when he was fatally shot.
DiPaola said people were smashing windows and assaulting others, including journalists.
“It was complete chaos. The police just lost control of the city,” DiPaola said.
Authorities have not released any video footage of Scott’s death, causing anger and demands for its release from protesters.
A spokesman for the Charlotte Fraternal Order of Police told CNN on Thursday he had seen video from the scene showing Scott holding a gun, Reuters reported.
Gov. Pat McCrory requested the National Guard after declaring the state of an emergency and a curfew is being discussed for Thursday evening.
“The one thing about the past two nights is that it’s been very disorganized on both the part of police and protesters,” DiPaola said. “Last night, for most of the night I could really only see one line of riot police, about 20 people. It was a very small presence. Of course more showed up later on during the night but it was a very small police presence.
“I think that that level of disorganization, both on the police part and protesters part, was a good thing and I think that level of disorganization led to fewer injuries,” DiPaola said.
The photojournalist speculated that after Wednesday’s unrest, the protesters will reorganize and the city can expect another demonstration for a third night in a row.