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Amid Mounting Pressure, Charlotte Police Release Video Of Shooting

Kerr Putney, chief of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, fields questions from the media on Friday in Charlotte, N.C.
Sean Rayford
Getty Images
Kerr Putney, chief of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, fields questions from the media on Friday in Charlotte, N.C.

Earlier this week, police shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, N.C., sparking days of protests and conflicting accounts of the moment that led to his death. Amid the demonstrations, one chant in particular rippled through the crowds: "Release the tapes."

Now, Charlotte police have done just that.

At a press conference Saturday, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney announced the decision to release additional information and footage from two police cameras that captured the shooting. That includes footage from body-worn cameras and dashboard cameras, as well as physical evidence, according to Putney.

"We are releasing everything that we can at this point," Putney said. He said officials' delay in releasing the videos was due to protecting the integrity of their investigation.

Here is the body-cam video, which does not come from the firing officer. Warning: The video includes graphic images and language.

Here is the dashcam video. The same warning above applies here, as well.

Among the evidence released on Saturday are three photographs, depicting the firearm Scott allegedly had in his possession, an ankle holster and the marijuana "blunt" that police say he had been rolling in his SUV at the time the officers arrived.

The gun allegedly in Scott's possession at the time of his encounter with police officers.
/ Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department
The gun allegedly in Scott's possession at the time of his encounter with police officers.

Police have also made public their timeline of events. Upon observing Scott in possession of marijuana, officials say, officers who had been on a separate warrant operation say they also saw Scott hold up a gun. After verbal commands to drop the gun, police say Scott left the vehicle.

The timeline continues: "Officer [Brentley] Vinson perceived Mr. Scott's actions and movements as an imminent physical threat to himself and the other officers. Officer Vinson fired his issued service weapon, striking Mr. Scott. Officers immediately rendered first aid and requested Medic to respond to the scene."

Scott's family cast doubt on this account. In a press conference shortly after the videos were released, the family's attorney, Justin Bamberg, called the footage inconclusive. "When I look at the dashcam footage I don't see anything there, in my opinion, that would lead to him losing his life," Bamberg said.

He added: "Do those actions, do those precious seconds, justify this shooting?"

Scott's family has previously maintained that he did not have a weapon, but was in his car with a book at the time he was confronted by police.

In a statement, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory backed Putney's decision to release the video, adding: "We have appreciated the ongoing dialogue and team work between state and city officials to seek public transparency while protecting the integrity of the investigation and the rights of all parties involved in this case."

Still, it is not the first footage of Scott's death to surface. On Friday, cellphone footage from his wife, Rakeyia Scott, was first published by NBC, The New York Times and other media outlets. The video depicts the confrontation between Scott and CMPD police in the parking lot of an apartment complex — beginning with the officers' approach of Scott's car, and ending with Scott's fall to the pavement after a burst of gunfire from police.

Meanwhile, protests continued Saturday in the city, with as many as 1,000 demonstrators taking part, reports Nick de la Canal of member station WFAE.

"The protesters chanted Keith Scott's name," de la Canal reports, "and they called for the defunding of Charlotte-Mecklenburg police and an independent investigation into the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department by the Department of Justice."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Colin Dwyer covers breaking news for NPR. He reports on a wide array of subjects — from politics in Latin America and the Middle East, to the latest developments in sports and scientific research.

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