Charlotte Police Release Portions of Video of Encounter with Keith ScottSept. 24, 201601:14
Charlotte police on Saturday released portions of bodycam and dashcam footage and a photo of the gun police said Keith Lamont Scott was holding when he was fatally shot by an officer.
The dashcam video shows Scott come out of a white SUV while police stand behind another vehicle with their weapons raised and command him to drop the gun. Scott eventually emerges from the SUV slowly and backs away. As he is backing up, four shots can be heard, and Scott can be seen falling to the ground.
The bodycam video briefly shows Scott standing outside of the SUV with the door open before he is shot, and then shows officers respond to him while he’s on the ground.
Neither video shows whether or not Scott had a firearm in his hand during the incident, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said before the videos were released. He said other evidence concluded that Scott was in possession of a gun.
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The officer who shot Scott was not wearing a body camera, police have said.
Along with the videos, police on Saturday released a photo of the handgun and an ankle holster they said were in Scott's possession. Police said a lab analysis showed Scott’s DNA and fingerprints were on the gun.
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Scott’s family maintains that he did not have a gun at the time of the shooting.
An attorney for the Scott family, Justin Bamberg, said the video appears to show Scott walking backwards and not posing a threat before he was shot, and it isn't clear from the footage that he had a gun.
"Do those actions, do those precious seconds justify this shooting?" Bamberg said at a news conference after the video was released.
Scott’s shooting death ignited protests in North Carolina’s largest city, fueled in part by criticism of police over the use of lethal force by officers against black men. Only one officer shot Scott, police said, and that officer is also black.
Police in the press release Saturday gave a fuller account of what caused police, who were looking for another person, to confront Scott.
Police said plainclothes officers were in the parking lot preparing to serve an arrest warrant against someone else Tuesday when an SUV parked beside them. The officers saw Scott rolling a marijuana “blunt,” which they ignored, but then Brentley Vinson, who fired the fatal shots “observed Mr. Scott hold a gun up.”
"Due to the combination of illegal drugs and the gun Mr. Scott had in his possession, officers decided to take enforcement action for public safety concerns,” police said.
The officers left to don marked duty vests and "upon returning, the officers again witnessed Mr. Scott in possession of a gun," police said. An officer tried to use a baton to “breach the window” of the SUV in order to make the arrest, police said.
"Mr. Scott then exited the vehicle with the gun and backed away from the vehicle while continuing to ignore officers’ repeated loud verbal commands to drop the gun,” the police statement said.
"Officer Vinson perceived Mr. Scott’s actions and movements as an imminent physical threat to himself and the other officers," the statement said.
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The statement said that after Scott was shot, officers rendered first aid and called a medic to the scene.
Not all the video was released. Putney said some of the other police video was not relevant to the shooting.
The videos were released at around 6:35 p.m. Police had earlier in the week declined to release police video of the encounter.
"I have decided that we're at a stage where I can release additional information without adversely impacting [the State Bureau of Investigation's] investigation," Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said at a news conference Saturday afternoon. "Prior to this point, it would have had an impact."
"The footage will not prove anything true or not it, only can support the physical evidence," he said, adding that new evidence as a whole would provide "the most complete puzzle" that police could offer.
The Scott family was permitted to view the police video Thursday. The Family released cell phone video taken by Scott's wife, Rakeyia Scott, that shows part of the encounter but not the shooting.
"He doesn't have a gun. He has a TBI [traumatic brain injury]," Rakeyia Scott says in the video that she took. "He's not going to do anything to you guys. He just took his medicine."
Brentley Vinson, the plainclothes officer who fired the fatal shots at Scott, was not wearing a bodycam, according to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police. But three other officers who were at the scene were.
Gov. Pat McCrory, who declared a state of emergency after the protests became violent again Wednesday, said in a statement Saturday that he agreed with Putney's decision to release footage.
"I have been assured by the State Bureau of Investigation that the release will have no material impact on the independent investigation since most of the known witnesses have been interviewed," he said.
Earlier Saturday, the NAACP in Charlotte joined the calls for police to share the footage, calling it "video that is ours."