The demonstrators began marching on uptown — Charlotte’s name for its downtown business and shopping district — at about 8 p.m. Wednesday.
The scene was chaotic and sometimes frightening but not particularly destructive, until a man was shot in the face and police began firing tear gas at the now-furious demonstrators. (Many believed the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police had shot the man, but authorities said later the shooting was a “civilian on civilian” crime. Thursday, the police gave conflicting accounts that satisfied nobody.)
But by now the fuse was lit. At about 9:45 p.m., looters swarmed into EpiCentre, a retail and restaurant center, smashing windows and looting the CVS pharmacy. The protesters also shattered windows at a steakhouse and two other EpiCentre shops and looted the nearby Charlotte Hornets NBA store.
The crowd dispersed, with some heading onto Interstate 277, where they temporarily blocked traffic. Protesters also hit the NASCAR Hall of Fame and broke windows there and at nearby hotels.
No damage estimates from the city were immediately available.
Police Chief Kerr Putney said 44 protesters were arrested.