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Police shooting sparks protest and flag burning

Raleigh, North Carolina — An alleged gunman was shot during a foot chase in east Raleigh early Tuesday evening, sparking a protest that lasted well into Wednesday morning, reports CBS Raleigh affiliate WNCN-TV. At first, the angry crowd went to the police chief's home seeking answers.

A large crowd later appeared in downtown Raleigh and marched through various streets, blocking them and chanting. Demonstrators took a U.S. flag from the Governor's Mansion and later burned it. Some carried signs saying, "Whose streets? Our streets!"

The shooting was first reported as a man with a gun around 6:45 p.m., police said. Arriving officers saw someone matching the description the 911 caller gave, the news release said.

At that point, he ran and they chased him, repeatedly ordering him to stop and drop the gun, the release said. He was shot once by one of the officers, the release added.

Burning U.S. flag is seen during protest after police shooting in Raleigh, N.C. on night of March 10, 2020. WNCN-TV

Police later said Javier Torres, 26, the man who was hit, was taken to a hospital and a gun was found at the shooting scene. There was no word on his condition. Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown told reporters Wednesday morning that Torres had run toward another officer before he was shot by the responding officer, in the abdomen.

It happened at a shopping center where another man was shot by police last  April. That man died.

A large agitated crowd at the scene demanded answers from police, but no significant information was released until four hours after the shooting, WNCN said.

Demonstrators on downtown Raleigh, N.V. after police shot a man during a foot chase on night of March 10, 2020. WNCN-TV

"We need immediate and swift transparency regarding this incident because the community has a right to know and needs to know what's going on," Kerwin Pittman told the station.

Some in the crowd left, saying they were going to Deck-Brown's home. By 10:30 p.m., there were throngs of people there and an officer was standing out front.

By about 11:30 p.m., a large crowd appeared in downtown Raleigh. They marched to the State Capitol building early Wednesday morning, grabbing and later burning the flag.

Deck-Brown said, "This is not who we are as a city. But it's also important that individuals who have a desire to voice their concerns, there is a method by which they can do that without damaging people's property, without harming other folks."

There were a few assaults during the protests, she added. It wasn't clear if there were any arrests.

Asked if she had a problem with protesters showing up outside her home, Deck-Brown said, "Of course I do. If I stood here and said anything differently I wouldn't be true to myself…what happened tonight — last night — was wrong on a lot of levels."

Deck-Brown also blamed "misinformation" for the resulting protests and said the media were partially responsible. "To our media, you've gotta be partners to giving accurate and timely information and that's not happening like it should," she said.

Police said the officer who fired at Torres was wearing a video camera and it was turned on during the incident. Other officers also had their body-worn cameras on at the time, police said, adding that they would seek to get the video released.

"As is standard protocol, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation will conduct an investigation of the officer-involved shooting," police said.

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