reader comments 175
Share this story
UPDATE 5:20pm PDT: The lawyer representing the victim’s family said that, after watching the footage, he could not tell whether the victim was holding a weapon.
The attorney, Justin Bamberg, said the family wants the video footage released to the public.
A day after North Carolina’s governor declared a state of emergency amid violent protests following the police killing of a black man, Charlotte’s police chief said Thursday the agency will not publicly release video footage of Keith Lamont Scott’s death.
A black officer from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department killed Scott, 43, on Tuesday outside an apartment complex while serving a warrant on somebody else.
The officer, who has been placed on administrative leave, said Scott had a handgun as he got out of a vehicle and did not follow orders to drop it.
Friends and family members maintain Scott was carrying a book—an assertion flatly denied by Kerr Putney, the police chief.
At a press conference, he said the authorities retrieved a handgun Scott “was holding in his hand when he got out of the vehicle.”
Shooting victim Keith Lamont Scott.
The chief is currently investigating the incident, which is yet another instance of police shooting a black man in the US.
According to various watchdog sources—the Washington Post, The Guardian and the Killed by Cops database—between 706 and 844 people have been killed by US cops in 2016. Of that total, the North Carolina ACLU notes there were 194 deceased black Americans.
Chief Putney said Thursday that footage from the Scott shooting does not show “absolute, definitive visual evidence that could confirm that a person is pointing a gun.
I didn’t see that in the videos I saw.” Still, Putney told the news conference that he’ll only show the footage to the victim’s family, not the public.
The chief said the agency only publicly releases video of shootings “when we believe there is a compelling reason.” He said the department wants to be as transparent as possible, “but I never said full transparency.”
“If you think we should display a family’s worst day for public consumption, that is not the transparency we’re speaking of,” Putney said.
The chief’s comments come a week before a North Carolina law goes into effect that would require a court order to disclose police footage to the public.
Members of Congress, the NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union, and others have called for the department to release the video.
“In the interest of transparency and accountability, and particularly in light of conflicting accounts about the shooting, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department should quickly release any and all footage it has of the events leading up to the shooting, as well as the shooting itself,” said Karen Anderson, the ACLU of North Carolina executive director.
The Charlotte police agency requires officers to wear body cams.
At least three officers on the scene were wearing body cams. Officer Brentley Vinson, the shooter, was not wearing one at the time of the incident.
Listing image by ABC News/YouTube