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On Fourth Night Of Protests, 'Release The Tapes' Is Rallying Cry

Updated 1 p.m.
Hundreds of people marched through uptown Charlotte for a fourth night Friday, chanting "release the tapes" to protest Tuesday's police killing of Keith Scott.

Police said Saturday afternoon they arrested 11 people, including nine for violating the city's midnight to 6 a.m. curfew. Police allowed the demonstrations to go on past midnight, but began enforcing the curfew around 2 a.m.  A man and a woman were charged with a break-in as well.  

There were no injuries and police said they did not use tear gas, as they have during other protests this week.  

The protest remained peaceful, despite the release earlier in the day of a mobile phone video of the shooting taken by Scott's wife.

Protesters chanted and carried signs calling on Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department to release body and dash cam videos of the shooting. 

Anthony Burts is a criminal defense lawyer in Charlotte and joined the protests for the first time.

“The lack of transparency in this city is why we have all this unrest, because it's creating distrust in the CMPD and the police system, criminal justice system as a whole. So that's why we're out here,” Burts said. 

At one point, a group of demonstrators marched onto I-277 near Caldwell Street. Police steered them off the highway and back onto Church Street, where they made the first of two loops around downtown.

Demonstrators remained on the streets past midnight, despite the city’s midnight curfew. Police tracked the protesters on foot, in cars and on bicycles. They made no attempt to enforce the curfew until around 2 a.m., when there were only about 75 protesters remaining. 

Activist John Barnett was in front of the Omni Hotel around 9 p.m., where people were writing slogans and the names of police shooting victims on the sidewalk in chalk. He said the relatively quiet scene hid what people are feeling.

“You know, they calm tonight, but trust me, their spirit is not calm. Their activities, physical, may be calm. But deep down inside they want to bust out all these windows at the Omni,” Barnett said.

Police had a big presence again last night to help keep the peace. And National Guard troops were stationed near businesses and landmarks, such as Bank of America Stadium.

The midnight to 6 am curfew remains in effect nightly as long as the city remains under a state of emergency.  

Mike Trueheart, a Johnson C. Smith University graduate, was helping to lead the march as it headed toward police headquarters. He said it was important to keep the protest peaceful. 

“We can show something peacefully and make a statement without the battles. And that's what we need to do. That's all we're doing,” he said. 


The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation issued a statement Friday that said although the department is investigating the case and has copies of the footage of Scott's shooting, the CMPD “remains the custodian of the original recording and as such has the legal authority to release it.”

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts told CNN Friday the city's attorneys are still trying to determine who has legal authority to release the video.  

"What my statement will continue to be is whoever has that authority I am urging them to release it. I am urging them to show transparency, and again to complete that investigation as soon as possible so we have a full picture," said Roberts.

In the past, Roberts has said she’s leaning towards transparency, but wanted to wait for the investigation to finish before releasing the footage. 

Roberts also asked the leading presidential candidates to delay plans to visit Charlotte.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton announced Friday she was planning to visit Charlotte on Sunday. Her campaign decided to postpone that trip "so as not to impact the city's resources." Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's campaign said Trump also will not visit the city next week as planned.  

David Boraks is a veteran journalist who covers climate change for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.