CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department on Saturday released dashcam and bodycam video of the fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, as well as photos of the gun and possible marijuana blunt found on Scott when he died.
In the dashcam video, Scott can be seen exiting his vehicle before officers start firing. Officers are heard saying “drop the gun, drop the gun!” Scott’s wife, Rakeyia Scott, can also be heard saying “he doesn’t have a gun,” which was in the video.
In the dashcam footage, Scott is shown walking backward outside the vehicle when he was struck by police gunfire.
In a statement, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said two plainclothes officers were sitting in an an unmarked car in the parking lot of The Village at College Downs, preparing to serve an arrest warrant when a white SUV pulled up next to them. They observed Scott with what they believed to be a marijuana “blunt,” then saw Scott raise his gun up, the statement said. Officers then left the area to outfit themselves with marked duty vests and equipment that would clearly identify them as police officers, according to the CMPD statement. Upon their return, they identified themselves as officers and warned Scott to drop the weapon, the CMPD said.
A uniformed officer pulled up in a market patrol vehicle and was preparing break the window of Scott’s SUV with a baton when Scott then exited the vehicle, still holding the gun, the CMPD said. Scott backed away from the vehicle, “while continuing to ignore officers’ repeated loud verbal commands to drop the gun,” police said. One of the officers then fired when he allegedly felt Scott to be a threat to their safety, according to the CMPD.
The dashcam video shows Scott backing away from the SUV, but his arms did not appear to be either raised or extended before he was shot. Justin Bamberg, an attorney for Scott’s family, said the footage doesn’t show a gun in Scott’s hand.
Rakeyia Scott’s brother, Ray Dotch, said in a press conference after the video was released that the video “does not make clear” how the incident resulted in the loss of life.
Dotch said that the questions about Scott’s character “shouldn’t be the issue,” because “what we know is that he was an American citizen who deserved better.”
Chief Kerr Putney said the video and other evidence they were releasing would corroborate their account of how things unfolded, including that Keith Lamont Scott was holding a gun when he was shot. However,, even Putney acknowledged that “the video does not give me absolute, definitive visual evidence that would confirm that a person is pointing a gun.”
He addressed reporters Saturday afternoon, hours after several hundred demonstrators took to the street for a fifth day and marched around downtown Charlotte.
Hundreds of protesters returned to the streets Saturday night, reports CBS affiliate WBTV.
Putney said that he decided to release the footage after receiving assurances from the State Bureau of Investigation that it would not impact their independent probe of the shooting.
Asked whether he expected the footage to quiet protesters, Putney responded: “The footage itself will not create in anyone’s mind as to what this case represents... the footage only supports the other information” such as forensic evidence and witness statements.
He also said that his officers didn’t break the law but noted that the State Bureau of Investigation is continuing its investigation.
“Officers are absolutely not being charged by me, but again, there’s another investigation ongoing,” he said.
Putney said that Scott was “absolutely in possession of a handgun,” and that officers also saw marijuana in his car - prompting officers to act.
Amid anxiety and unease over the shooting of Scott, demonstrations in Charlotte have gone from violent to peaceful. The demonstrations reached a violent crescendo on Wednesday before the National Guard was called in a day later to maintain order.
The next two nights of protests were free of property damage and violence, with organizers stressing a message of peace at the end of the week.
Heading into Sunday, Interim City Manager Ron Kimble declared the NFL game between the Carolina Panthers and the Minnesota Vikings an extraordinary event for the purpose of deploying additional security.
Charlotte is the latest U.S. city to be shaken by protests and recriminations over the death of a black man at the hands of police, a list that includes Baltimore, Milwaukee, Chicago, New York and Ferguson, Missouri.
Forty-four people were arrested after Wednesday’s protests, and one protester who was shot died at a hospital Thursday. City officials said police did not shoot 26-year-old Justin Carr. A suspect was arrested, but police provided few details.
On Twitter, police identified the suspect as Rayquan Borum.
On Thursday, protests were largely peaceful after National Guard members came to the city to help keep order and the mayor imposed a curfew.