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Charlotte Protests Last Through The Night

The streets leading into Old Concord Road were blocked off to vehicle traffic for much of the night, but pedestrians were allowed to walk to and from the protest site. And as WFAE’s Gwendolyn Glenn reports, people were still heading to the scene after midnight with the smell of tear gas hanging heavily in the air.

Walking down Suther Road, Shahidah Whiteside, a student at Central Piedmont Community College gave several young black men directions around the police barricades to the protest site on Old Concord. Whiteside said she came out to join the protest because she’s concerned about the safety of all African-American men these days and is frustrated.

"I can’t keep watching another black man getting shot on another Facebook page, newscast and nobody doing anything about it,"Whiteside said.

And like many protesters in the crowd, Whiteside did not know 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott, the man shot by a CMPD officer. But when asked about him, she became emotional.

"I can only imagine if it was my dad…that’s a human being, he was a father, a disabled black man…they shot that man like a dog and I’m tired of seeing it, just because of the color of our skin," said Whiteside.

Two young white men stood in their yard nearby listening to Whiteside. They asked WFAE not use their names for this story. 

"I don’t know the details but if people feel they’re discriminated against they should protest in a peaceful manner," one of them said. 

"It’s crazy when it happens around the corner from where you live. It makes it more real," the other said.

Nigel Thomas, a student at UNC Charlotte says that reality, the shootings of African American men by police, is why he felt the need to join the protest. He doesn’t think anyone is really listening to the calls for justice and change.

"It’s a trend now. Every other day a black man is shot and killed. I’m tired of everything happening the way it is. I want peace and equality in American but it’s not gonna happen like that," said Thomas.

"They are upset about everything that happens and rightly so," said Horatius Harris, a pastor at New Birth Charlotte. He says he came out to be a voice of reason in the midst of the chaos that erupted during the protest.

"I feel the kids out here are a little astray and need direction and somebody to help them understand what they’re doing here is not going to help so I need to be here. The fact that another man was shot and killed by the police is over the top now and so that’s why you’re getting the reaction you’re getting," he said.

And it was not just young people at the protest site, but people of all ages, not knowing all of the facts of the shooting, but being in solidarity in their belief that it should not have happened.