Charlotte and Tulsa shootings: What police say vs. the families

There are conflicting stories about what led up to a Charlotte police officer shooting and killing Keith Scott. Police say he was armed with a gun. Witnesses and family say he was armed with a book. Now, anger is filling the streets. USA TODAY NETWORK

Protests broke out in Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday evening after a black man was killed by a police officer, just days after another officer-involved shooting in Tulsa.

In both cases, police said they felt threatened and were forced to take lethal action.

In Charlotte, police said the man shot by police, Keith Lamont Scott, 43, was holding a gun, while family members say he was reading a book.

But what really happened? Here's a rundown of what police say happened in the Tulsa and Charlotte officer involved shootings and what family members say.

What police say happened:

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police were searching for a suspect with an outstanding warrant Tuesday afternoon at The Village at College Downs in Charlotte, N.C., when they observed Keith Lamont Scott, 43, — not the suspect they were looking for — inside a vehicle at the apartment complex.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said Scott exited a vehicle he was sitting in armed with a firearm, then got back into the car.

When officers approached the car, Scott got out of the car with the gun again. The officers considered Scott to be "an imminent deadly threat to the officers who subsequently fired their weapon striking the subject," officials said.

The police chief said during a press release on Wednesday that police recovered a weapon from the scene, and did not find a book at the scene.

“It’s time to change the narrative, because I can tell you from the facts that the story’s a little bit different than it’s been portrayed so far, especially through social media,” Putney said.

Emergency responders transported Scott to Carolinas Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

What Scott's family says happened:

Scott's family allege he was shot by an undercover officer while reading in his car. A man who said he was Scott’s brother told reporters that Scott was in his car when an undercover officer exited his vehicle and yelled gun. He said the man shot him four times.

Scott's family allege he was shot by an undercover officer while reading in his car. A man who said he was Scott’s brother told reporters that Scott was in his car when an undercover officer exited his vehicle and yelled gun. He said the man shot him four times.

His sister told WBTV that Scott was sitting waiting for his children.

“He sits in the shade, reads his book and does his studies waiting on his kids to get off the bus," she told a reporter. "He didn’t have no gun; he didn't mess with nobody."


Shortly after the incident, Scott's daughter posted on Facebook under the account Lyric YourAdorable Scott. In the video, she repeatedly said, "the police killed my daddy because he is black."

Crowds gather in protest after officer-involved shooting 

Warning: The Facebook live includes profanity

What Tulsa police say happened:

Tulsa Police said they were responding to a call of a vehicle abandoned in the middle of the roadway. In video from officers' dashcams and also from a helicopter, four officers are seen responding as Terence Crutcher, 40, holds his hands up in the air and walks away from officers, toward his stalled vehicle.

Police said Crutcher did not respond to their comments and that one officer used a stun gun on him and another shot him.

In the video taken from the helicopter, a male is heard to say, "That looks like a bad dude, too. He might be on something."

Crutcher, who was unarmed, is then seen falling to the ground. He was fatally shot by Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby, who has since been placed on leave.

Police Chief Chuck Jordan, meeting with reporters, assured that justice would be done and said he called in the Justice Department to ask for an investigation.

"I'm going to tell you right now that there was no gun on the suspect or in the suspect's vehicle," Jordan said. "I want to assure our community and I want to assure all of you and people  across the nation who are going to be looking at this: we will achieve justice."

What Crutcher’s family says happened:

Crutcher's family and lawyer said at a press conference they'd viewed the video and they saw no justification for Crutcher's shooting.

Crutcher's twin sister, Tiffany Crutcher, said the family demands to know what happened and wants charges pressed against police officer Betty Shelby, who shot and killed Crutcher.

"We ask for facts, we ask for answers, and we clearly got it through the video and we are devastated," she said. "The entire family is devastated."

Tiffany Crutcher, playing on the words of the male on the video shot from the helicopter, said her brother was a good man who loved God.

"That big bad dude was enrolled at Tulsa Community College," she said. "He just wanted to make us proud. That big bad dude loved God."

 


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