Family: Charlotte police video leaves many questions about fatal shooting – USA TODAY
The brother-in-law of Keith Lamont Scott, who was shot dead by US police in Charlotte on Tuesday, spoke at a briefing on Saturday. (Sept. 24)
CHARLOTTEÂ â Despite the release of police video footage inÂ the fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, the man’s family said the images leave many questions unanswered.
“It does not make sense to us how this incident resulted in the loss of life … and itâs not clear in the videos that were released,”Â said Ray Dotch, Scott’s brother-in-law.
DotchÂ said the family was “delighted” the videos were releasedÂ but said at a newsÂ conference Saturday night, “Unfortunately,Â we are left with far more questions than we have answers.”
Charlotte Police Chief Kerr Putney said there “is no definitive, visual evidence” that Scott had a gun in his hand before Tuesday’s shooting. “You see something in the handÂ and that he pointed it at anÂ officer,” Putney said before the videos were released. The department has said officers perceived Scott’s movements as posing an imminent threat.
The shooting has inflamed tensions across the city, and extra security was in place for Sundayâs Carolina Panthers game. Police declared the football game an âextraordinary event,â allowing tighter security and bag searches.
About 100 protesters gathered outside Bank of America Stadium before the kickoff at 1 p.m., some chanting in voices left hoarse by a sixth day of protests.
âWe want to let people know that thereâs more going on on a Sunday than a Panthers game,â said organizer Ashley Williams of Charlotteâs Trans Queer People of Color Collective.Â Williams said she and others are angry that the released police videos appeared incomplete, and some portions contained no audio.
âWe didnât know in our demands that we would have to demand all the footage and tell them not to edit it, and weâd have to ask for sound, for crying out loud,â Williams said.
The dashboard camera video from an arriving police car, released Saturday by Charlotte’s police chief,Â shows officers surrounding Scottâs car. Scott exits and steps backwardÂ away from the car, his hands at his side,Â as officers repeatedly yell, âDrop the gun.â
A few seconds later,Â shots are fired, and Scott falls to the ground.Â Officers surround Scott out of dashboard-camera range.
The shaky body cam video, also released by police, showsÂ an officer circling Scottâs car.Â The picture picks up on Scott on the groundÂ as an officer yells for handcuffs. Scottâs handcuffed hands are bloody, and the sound of moaning can be heard.
An officer asks for medical equipment and says, âWe need to hold the wound.â The video then stops.
A case update thatÂ accompanied the video provided the police report ofÂ the incident. ItÂ stated that two plainclothes officers were sitting in their unmarked police car, preparing to serve an arrest warrant, when Scott pulled up in his white SUV.
The officers said Scott rolled what they believed to be a marijuana âblunt.âÂ A short time later, an officer reportedly sawÂ Scott hold a gun up.
âDue 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,â the report says. Officers departed âto outfit themselves with marked duty vests and equipment that would clearly identify them as police officers.â
When they returned, the officers again saw Scott with a gun, the report says.
âThe officers immediately identified themselves as police officers and gave clear, loud and repeated verbal commands to drop the gun. Mr. Scott refused to follow the officers’ repeated verbal commands,â the report says.
When another officer used his baton to break the front passenger window, Scott got out of the vehicle, âwhile continuing to ignore officersâ repeated loud verbal commands to drop the gun,â according to the report.
Officer Brentley Vinson, who fatally shot Scott, “perceived Mr. Scottâs actions and movements as an imminent physical threat to himself and the other officers,â the report states.
The report featured pictures of the “gun, ankle holster and marijuana ‘blunt.'”
Justin Bamberg, one of the lawyers for the Scott family, said Saturday after the video release that many questions need to be answered.
“Do those actions, do those precious seconds, justify this shooting? That is the most important question,” Bamberg said.
Bamberg noted there was no “definitiveÂ evidence” of Scott holding a gun.Â “Heâs not aggressively moving towardÂ law enforcement officers, heâs doing the opposite,” he said. “Heâs passively stepping back.”
Authorities had declined to release the footage, arguing it could jeopardize the integrity of the investigation of theÂ shooting thatÂ has been takenÂ over byÂ the State Bureau of Investigation. PutneyÂ saidÂ at theÂ news conference that he no longer hadÂ those concerns.
Putney emphasized he was not swayed by the protests or the release Friday of cellphone video by Scott’s wife of the scene.
Putney said his officers didnât break the law but noted the State Bureau of Investigation is continuing its investigation.Â âOfficers are absolutely not being charged by me, but again, thereâs another investigation ongoing,â he said.
In the family videoÂ taken by Scott’s wife,Â Rakeyia, she Â triesÂ toÂ convince police not to shoot her husband. Though it does not show the fatal shooting, it is punctuated with shouts by police to Keith Scott to drop his gun, Â followed by four shots in rapid succession.
The Scott family and some neighborhood witnesses claimed Scott did not have a gunÂ but was sitting in his car, reading a book while awaiting the arrival of his son on a school bus when police approached.
Police rejected that claim, saying he was armed and Â his weapon was confiscated at the scene.
Contributing: Alison YoungÂ