A local journalist has powerfully captured the deep tension and mistrust in Charlotte, North Carolina, fueling the past two days of protests. Violent unrest has gripped the southern banking capital since civilian Keith Lamont Scott was shot dead by a law enforcement officer in the city on Sept. 20—just days after the death of another black man, Terence Crutcher, at the hands of police in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Charlotte Magazine associate editor Adam Rhew took the dramatic photograph below on the first night of protests. It shows police in full riot gear emerging from a cloud of smoke. Behind the line of police is a city bus with glaring headlights, with a sign saying “NOT IN SERVICE.”
The bus was used to transport riot police to the protest area, says Rhew. He took the picture after police deployed a first round of tear gas and protesters dispersed.
Rhew, a Charlotte native, says he has never seen such large scale protests in the city. “Charlotte is the type of place where our struggles are in corporate boardrooms, it’s not a place where marches and demonstrations and protests are the norm,” he said. ”It’s some long-standing divisions in our community over race, we knew they were there, they were simmering but we hadn’t done a great job.”
After a civilian was shot by another civilian during the second night of protests on Sept. 21, North Carolina governor Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency for the city.