A day after the family of Keith Lamont Scott – the Black man shot and killed by Charlotte, North Carolina police last week – released cell phone footage of the incident, Charlotte officials, amid pressure from protestors and activist, released photographic and video evidence from body and dashboard cameras.
The video does little to answer pressing questions about whether Scott was in possession of a firearm, although he can be seen backing away from officers when he is shot four times by Officer Brentley Vinson. It does not appear that the 43-year-old father of seven was threatening or erratic in behavior when he exited a vehicle at officers’ requests. The responding law enforcement officials, however, can still be heard telling Scott to drop a weapon. In cell phone footage released last week by the family of the victim, you can hear Scott’s wife counter that demand, telling police her husband was not holding a weapon.
Charlotte officials, along with the disturbing video, released photos of what they say is a handgun recovered at the scene. That gun had Scott’s DNA on it, police said. Though photographic evidence place a gun at the scene, the origin of the weapon is unclear – Scott does not appear to be holding a weapon in his hand in the police videos.
According to the New York Times:
It appeared from the two angles that he had nothing in his right hand. It was unclear what, if anything, Mr. Scott, who was right-handed, had in his left hand. After Mr. Scott was shot multiple times and fell to the ground, his moans could be heard as officers handcuffed him.
The police also revealed for the first time that officers had decided to confront Mr. Scott, 43, in the parking lot of his apartment complex on Tuesday because they noticed, as they were preparing to serve a warrant on another person, that he was rolling a marijuana cigarette inside his S.U.V. — and had observed him “hold a gun up,” according to a news release. Mr. Scott was parked in a visitor’s parking space at his apartment complex, where he often waited for a school bus bringing one of his children home from school.
While the Scott family is pleased with the release of the videos, a lawyer for the family said the footage “raised more questions than they answered.”
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“When I look at the dashcam footage, I don’t see anything there, in my opinion, that would lead to him losing his life,” family attorney Justin Bamberg said.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney maintained there was reason to confront Scott, however, saying that because he was believed to be in possession of marijuana and a handgun, it raised “safety issues.”
“I stand behind the truth,” Chief Putney said. “People can interpret anything they want based on one piece of evidence, and I can tell you, I suspect they will based on the video footage. But what I say is, you have to put all pieces together.”
But as protests continue in Charlotte – activists, politicians and protestors are demanding the release of the entire video – at least one thing appears to be clear.
The video does not show Scott pointing a gun at officers.
You can watch the disturbing video below: