Family of Charlotte victim to view video of fatal police shooting

CHARLOTTE — After a second night of violent protests over a police-involved shooting, police chief Kerr Putney said Thursday he will honor a request by the victim's family to view video of the incident but will not release the footage to the public.

Putney also told reporters the video "does not give me absolute definitive visual evidence that would confirm that a person is pointing a gun" but that the evidence "taken in totality" supports the police version of events that led to the fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott.

Police, who were serving a warrant at a nearby apartment complex at the time, said Scott was armed and refused direct orders from offices to drop the weapon.

Several local residents said the 43-year-old father of seven regularly waited in his car and read until his son arrived back from school. They claimed he was carrying a book, not a gun, when he stepped from the car after police approached.

“He got out of his car, he walked back to comply, and all his compliance did was get him murdered,” said Taheshia Williams, whose balcony overlooks the shady parking spot where Scott was Tuesday afternoon, the Associated Press reported.

MORE | Deadly police shooting sparks violent protests in Charlotte

Anger over the incident erupted into violence Tuesday night and continued Wednesday night, prompting Gov. Pat McCrory to declare a state of emergency to deploy the National Guard and the state Highway Patrol to assist local police.

Putney said two officers and nine civilians were injured and 44 people arrested late Wednesday in several hours of violence that broke out following peaceful protests. One person was shot, apparently by another civilian.

With police in riot gear patrolling downtown streets, protesters shouted "hands up, don't shoot," banged against a police van and broke a window of the City Smoke barbecue restaurant and bar. Police set off smoke bombs, which are sometimes used to disperse crowds.

"The events we saw last night are not the Charlotte I know and love, or the deep-seated tradition we have of collaboration," Mayor Jennifer Roberts said at the news conference.

Authorities said they would not impose a curfew, but reserved the right to do so if events warranted. Putney said the arrival of hundreds National Guard troops and highway patrol officers to protect buildings would allow police to go after violent protesters.

Putney has promised a transparent investigation of the original shooting incident, and agreed to let Scott's family see the video, but stood by his refusal to release the footage to the public.

The police chief said a public release of the video would have a “negative impact on the integrity of the case.”

"Right now, my priority ... is the people who are the victims of the shooting," Putney said. "I am going to honor that request. If you think we should display a victim's worst day for public consumption, that is not the transparency I'm speaking of."

 
 
Police said the plainclothes officer, identified as Brently Vinson, who shot Scott has been placed on leave, which is standard procedure in such cases. The incident is being investigated by a separate state agency.

Three uniformed officers at the shooting scene had body cameras, but Vinson did not, police said.

A new law, signed by McCrory in July, takes effect Oct. 1 and denies public access to police body cam and dashcam footage without a judge’s orders.

Under the law, police departments can decide whether to make such video public. A person depicted in a video can request release of the footage, but if the request is denied, the person must challenge the decision in court.

It is unclear whether the new law would apply to the ongoing case if the investigation continues into October.

Maxwell reports for the Asheville (N.C.) Citizen-Times. Stanglin reported from McLean, Va. Contributing: Melanie Eversley in New York
 

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