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Emergency in Charlotte, Obama urges calm

One protester was critically wounded and on life support following the clashes Wednesday in the city center

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The governor of the southern US state of North Carolina declared a state of emergency Wednesday following a second night of unrest in Charlotte ignited by the fatal police shooting of a black man.

“I have declared a State of Emergency & initiated efforts to deploy the Nat’l Guard & Highway Patrol to assist local law enforcement in CLT,” Governor Pat McCrory said on Twitter. One protester was critically wounded and on life support following the clashes Wednesday in the city center.

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama on Wednesday called the mayors of Tulsa and Charlotte, where the shootings of two black men by police have reignited summer-long racial unrest, urging a calm response to protests.

“Both mayors provided the President with an update on the situation on the ground and the protests in their cities,” a White House official said about Obama’s conversations with Mayor Dewey Bartlett of Tulsa and Mayor Jennifer Roberts of Charlotte.

“The President and both mayors reiterated that any protests should be conducted in a peaceful manner and that local law enforcement should find ways to calmly and productively engage those protesting.”

Terence Crutcher was shot dead by police in Tulsa, Oklahoma last Friday, and Keith Lamont Scott was killed by law enforcement in Charlotte, North Carolina on Tuesday. Violence and looting overnight in Charlotte injured at least 16 officers and several demonstrators.

“The President expressed his condolences to both Mayors on the tragic events and affirmed the Administration's commitment to provide assistance as needed,” said the White House official. These are just the latest in a series of fatal police shootings -- from Baton Rouge, Louisiana to St. Paul, Minnesota -- that have left the African American community demanding law enforcement reforms and greater accountability.