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CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (AFP) – A second night of race-related clashes in Charlotte, North Carolina on Wednesday left one protester on life support, with the renewed violence prompting the governor to declare a state of emergency.
Governor Pat McCrory said on Twitter that along with declaring the state of emergency, he was activating the National Guard and Highway Patrol officers to assist local law enforcement.
He also told CNN: “We cannot tolerate violence. We cannot tolerate the destruction of property and will not tolerate the attacks towards our police officers that are occurring right now, and I feel very strongly about that.
“That is not the American way,” he added.
A protester was critically wounded and on life support, the city said, after earlier reporting that the person had died. Authorities had said the protester was shot by a civilian, adding that police did not open fire.
An AFP reporter at the scene of the protests outside the Omni Charlotte hotel saw a man who was apparently shot falling to the ground, bleeding heavily.
Some demonstrators banged on windows, others stood on cars and threw objects at police. Police fired what appeared to be tear gas, sending the protesters scattering.
“We are working to bring peace and calm to our city. We know this is not who Charlotte is,” Mayor Jennifer Roberts said on CNN, calling on people to stay home and off the streets. “Tell everyone that violence is not the answer,” she said.
She added that authorities would consider other options if violence continues to flare, “possibly curfews and that sort of thing, but right now, we are continuing to work with what we have tonight.”
The unrest was sparked by a fatal police shooting of a black man on Tuesday. Mr Keith Lamont Scott, 43, was shot dead in an apartment complex parking lot after an encounter with officers searching for a suspect wanted for arrest.
Sixteen officers and several demonstrators were injured in clashes overnight on Tuesday following Mr Scott’s death, the latest in a string of police-involved killings of black men that have fueled outrage across the United States.
Charlotte police tweeted that four officers were hurt during the second night of unrest on Wednesday night, but said none of the injuries were considered life-threatening.