Charlotte police share videos, more details from shooting
Race Issues | Police chief says Keith Lamont Scott “absolutely” had a handgun
by Lynde Langdon
Posted 9/23/16, 04:26 pm
UPDATE (9/24/2016, 7:40 p.m.): Under pressure from protesters to clarify details of the death of Keith Lamont Scott, the Charlotte police department released video and evidence from the shooting today.
In an afternoon press conference, Charlotte police Chief Kerr Putney said Scott, whom police shot and killed Tuesday, was “absolutely in possession of a handgun.” Putney said today police were conducting surveillance on another unrelated suspect in an apartment complex when they saw Scott in a car with marijuana. They then saw the gun he was carrying and decided to confront him. Among the evidence released were pictures of a gun and a marijuana “blunt”, both of which police said Scott had in his possession. Scott was also wearing an ankle holster, police said.
“When you’re in possession of marijuana and then you produce a gun,” Putney said, “That becomes public safety.”
Protesters gathered earlier in the day at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department building to demand the videos’ release. They chanted, “Keith Scott,” and “No tapes, no peace.” The demonstrations stayed peaceful, as they have since Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency Wednesday night.
As Putney previously warned, the videos taken by police dashboard and body cameras do not show clearly whether Scott had a gun in his hand when he was shot. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is still looking into the shooting, but told Putney releasing the videos would not harm the inquiry.
The body camera video shows the vantage point of an officer approaching Scott’s vehicle and then crouching next to Scott after he is shot. An officer can be heard asking for handcuffs and gloves and saying they need to hold Scott’s wound. The dashboard camera shows Scott exiting his vehicle and walking backward as he is shot four times.
OUR EARLIER REPORT: Keith Lamont Scott’s wife released today a cell phone video she took during his deadly encounter with police Tuesday afternoon in Charlotte, N.C. The video does not show the shooting, which occurs off-frame but can be heard, nor does it show what Scott had in his hand as he faced off with police. But it does reveal some as-yet-unknown facts about the incident that touched off three nights of protests in Charlotte.
The video reveals that Rakeyia Scott pleaded with police not to shoot as they surrounded her husband’s vehicle. She yelled toward police, “He doesn’t have a gun. He has a T.B.I. He’s not going to do anything to you guys. He just took his medicine.” (T.B.I. usually stands for traumatic brain injury.)
Meanwhile, police can be heard shouting, “Drop the gun,” repeatedly. Rakeyia Scott also tells her husband to get out of the car and says, “Don’t you do it.” Four rapid gunshots can be heard, then the camera approaches closer and shows Keith Scott lying in the road with officers around him. Rakeyia Scott curses and says, “He better live,” as officers warn her not to come closer.
Rakeyia Scott gave copies of the video to The New York Times (warning: graphic content) and NBC News after the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department declined the family’s request to release dashboard and body camera videos of the incident. Those videos, like the one released today, do not conclusively show what Scott had in his hand before he was shot, according to Chief Kerr Putney. Police have said he had a gun, but the family claims he was just reading a book while waiting for a child to get off the school bus.
Charlotte officials have not yet responded to the video’s release, and it’s unknown if they will. Putney said releasing the department’s own footage could jeopardize the ongoing investigation.
Today police arrested a suspect in a killing that happened Wednesday night during protests sparked by Scott’s death. Rayquan Borum, 21, was charged with murder in the shooting death of 26-year-old Justin Carr.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.