The family of a North Carolina man whose death at the hands of police sparked days of protests in Charlotte said they released cell phone video of the encounter Friday “in the name of truth and transparency.”
The family of Keith Lamont Scott, 43, who was killed by police Tuesday as officers looked for someone else on outstanding warrants, also called on police to release their videos of the shooting, the family’s attorneys said in a statement.
"The family is still hopeful that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and city of Charlotte will release all available video of the incident to the public so that people can draw their own conclusions about Keith's death," the attorneys said in a statement.
"We encourage everyone to reserve judgment until all the facts are known. This is simply one step in our quest to find the truth for this family," the attorneys' statement said.
Police have said Scott was armed and posed an imminent threat to officers before he was shot, but have not released body camera and dashcam video. Scott’s family has said he was not armed.
Cell phone video recorded by Scott’s wife doesn’t show the shooting, but officers are heard commanding "drop the gun" repeatedly before shots ring out.
Scott’s death sparked days of protests in Charlotte that turned violent Tuesday and Wednesday. A man was shot in what authorities called a "civilian-on-civilian" incident during protests and Wednesday and died Thursday, police said.
Dozens were arrested, windows of businesses were smashed, and the governor activated the National Guard and the mayor ordered a curfew.
The death of Scott, an African-American, came amid greater public scrutiny over the use of deadly force against people of color. The officer who shot Scott is also black.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Twitter also called for the police to release the videos. She had planned to visit Charlotte Sunday but her campaign later said the trip was postponed in order to not burden the city's resources.
The video released by the family Friday did not satisfy some who demanded answers Friday.
"We've seen a video, but it didn’t show him actually getting shot and that’s a sad situation," said John C. Barnett, a civil rights leader in Charlotte.
"Charlotte, you got to be transparent. Chief of police, you got to be transparent. And yet we’re still dealing with a video hold," Barnett said during a Friday news conference.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney has said three officers at the scene were wearing body cameras, but he has not released those videos and video from a dashcam, saying that he didn't want to jeopardize the investigation.
Putney has said the video supports the police account of the shooting, but does not show "absolute definitive, visual evidence" of Scott pointing a weapon at officers. Police have said a gun was recovered close to Scott's body.
Gov. Pat McCrory added Friday that "compelling public interest" in seeing the videos and the need to conduct a "thorough investigation" often conflict.
The State Bureau of Investigation, which is probing the shooting, said Friday it won’t release video at this time and had no comment on the family’s video.
But Barnett said the reluctance of authorities to release the videos of the shooting would just fuel protests, which McCrory said have already cost the state $287,000.
"Holding onto the video does not make things better," Barnett said.
"Does someone else have to die? Does another window have to be broken," echoed local pastor Amere May Sr. Authorities' decision to "drag their feet to release the evidence is frustrating," he said.