Last night, the city of Charlotte was rocked with protests for a second straight night as massive crowds protested the police killing of Kenneth L. Scott. During the protests, a civilian was shot in the head and critically injured. The police quickly told the media that the shooter was also a civilian, but a number of eyewitness reports seem to indicate that the police are lying – and that the shot came from law enforcement.
One key eye witness report emerged from Charlotte on Twitter, along with a graphic photo of the bloody aftermath and a haunting statement from Todd Zimmer, who claims to have assisted in the emergency response: “I didn’t want to post about this, but my city is lying about what happened tonight. Let the record show.”
We interviewed Kahran Meyer, who is a North Carolina criminal defense lawyer and a key eye witness on the scene. The 29-year-old published this tweet just an hour after witnessing the shots and noticing that the weapons discharge did not sound like a typical firearm:
I watched a man die tonight with my own two eyes. It was NOT by a civilian. I don't care WHAT CNN tells you.
I was right fucking there.
— BLACK MATLOCK (@KahranAtLaw) September 22, 2016
“I didn’t realize that I was standing next to someone from CNN at the time. It started when everybody met at the park and marched from there down a couple of city blocks, when somebody said let’s march to the police station. It was peaceful, people had signs that said “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot,” Kahran Meyers told me at 1:50am tonight.
“The protest then marched to College Street and Trade Street in front of the Omni Hotel. At that time, police were not at all directing traffic, just keeping the peace,” Meyer told me almost breathlessly, “I’ve been told that the idea was to walk into the Omni and hold our hands up [in protest] and chant ‘hands up, don’t shoot’ and there was a crowd of roughly 1,000 people. We wanted to demonstrate to the upper class, the bourgeoisie that there is a problem.”
“After leaving ‘The Epicenter,’ police made a human barrier to block a return to the main square, so the crowd was facing the hotel. At that point, all of the protests were completely peaceful – and that’s when the riot police arrived. I swear to god, you could feel the temperature go up by 10 degrees.”
Meyers had a brief interaction with one of the riot officers at that point, and asked them whose idea it was to send out police in heavy armor. The Charlotte officer coyly nodded his head upward as if to indicate brass. Meyers told him that it was an unnecessary escalation and he replied, “oh, absolutely.”
Five minutes later, a protester lay near death in a pool of blood in the street.
“It wasn’t a gunshot,” she told us. “It was much louder. It wasn’t a civilian injury. The way people scattered. No way. At least a dozen people exclaimed loudly ‘They just shot him’ and people in the crowd were familiar with him [the protester shot by police]. At that point, the peaceful protesters who hadn’t already left, exited.”
At that moment, Meyers says that Charlotte-Mecklenberg police then read the riot act to the protesters. As she made it to the next block, police opened up with teargas from two directions into the already retreating crowd of peaceful protesters.
It took Meyers fifteen minutes to leave the scene, and as she was departing she spotted a news crew reviewing live video, it was a split-screen. According to Meyer, that videographer was from CNN and had been standing next to the lawyer, and when reunited said it was ‘entirely too loud for a gunshot too. It was so loud it shook my tripod and all of my equipment.’
CNN reports, “Police say the person was shot by a civilian.”
The City of Charlotte began spinning the protester’s grave injuries immediately on Twitter:
ALERT: Fatal shot uptown was civilian on civilian. @CMPD did not fire shot.
— City of Charlotte (@CLTgov) September 22, 2016
Two additional eye witness reports have emerged on Twitter refute the Charlotte police’s claim that a civilian shot and severely injured a protester. The first is from the Charlotte Clergy Coalition for Justice, who issued a press release of sorts through a widely followed Palestinian rights activist.
“I saw the man go down on the pavement,” said Minister Steve Knight of Missiongathering Christian Church in Charlotte whose written statement points the finger squarely at Charlotte-Meckenberg Police for the shooting, “It was an ambush. The victim was shot while he stood between two ministers, and we believe he was shot by police.”
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) September 22, 2016
Lastly, a man named Eddie Thomas posted on Facebook – which was also shared via twitter – that, “within 5 mins (no exaggeration a dude lay bleeding on the ground, eye rolling in the bakc of his head. he got shot with something, maybe a rubber bullet. I yelled at the bike cops for help and they did nothing.”
— Taryn J Mitchell (@tarynj19) September 22, 2016
When African-Americans attempt to express their frustration and anger and the violence inflicted upon them by the state, the state responds the only way it knows how – with more violence.
Original story by Grant Stern at PINAC News: “WITNESS: Charlotte Riot Police Did Shoot Protester, Deny Involvement Blaming Civilians“
Grant Stern is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and a senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition