The North Carolina police officer who gunned down 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott will not face charges.
The disappointing news was announced on Wednesday morning by Mecklenburg County District Attorney R. Andrew Murray, according to the New York Times. “Officer Vinson acted lawfully when he shot Mr. Scott,” Murray said during a press conference in Charlotte. Combating previous claims by his family and friends that Scott was not armed at the time of the shooting, Murray said the investigation into the incident determined that he was in posession of a gun when the officer opened fire. “All of the credible and available evidence suggests that he was armed,” he told reporters.
Despite the investigation findings, the video footage of the shooting does not show Scott pointing the weapon at police at any point, nor did the officers’ account of the confrontation include any mention of Scott threatening officers or anyone else with the gun before being shot.
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Video clips of the Black father of 7 stepping out of his vehicle and walking backwards with his arms at his sides just moments before police opened fire sparked nationwide outrage. Attorneys for Scott’s family have continuously maintained that it was possible that he did not fully understand the officers’ instructions to drop his weapon because of a traumatic brain injury, for which he was on medication at the time of the September 20 shooting. Scott’s wife can also be heard telling officers that he has a “TBI” — or “tramautic brain injury — before adding,”Don’t shoot him, he has no weapon,” moments before the encounter turned fatal.
The Scott family has yet to publicly respond to the news of the D.A.’s decision not to prosecute officer Vinson for the shooting.