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Graphic video released of police shooting of Charlotte man

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A  graphic, 16-minute bodycam video released Tuesday night captures the moments before and after a Charlotte, North Carolina, man was killed in a police shooting.

Body camera and dashcam recordings released by police show Keith Lamont Scott slowly backing out of an SUV. Police say he refused commands to put down a gun. The video doesn’t conclusively show whether Scott had a weapon and that his fingerprints and DNA were found on it. Scott’s mother maintains he was holding a Quran.

The shooting came less than a year after a devastating motorcycle wreck that friends say left him muddled and struggling.

Neurologists say they aren’t surprised someone with a severe traumatic brain injury would be slow to react and have difficulty following instructions, particularly when orders are being shouted by police officers with their weapons drawn.

“They don’t do well in stressful situations,” said Dr. David Brody, professor of neurology at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. “They often make poor choices or impulsive decisions under stress.”

Brody noted that his comments refer to severe TBIs in general, and that he never saw Scott as a patient. But he said there’s “no way a patient with a TBI who doesn’t know the difference between right and wrong should own a gun or drive a car.”

Scott, 43, was killed Sept. 20 by a Charlotte police officer, prompting days of protests that included another man’s shooting death one riotous night.

Body camera and dashcam recordings released previously by police show Scott slowly backing out of an SUV.

Keith Lamont Scott
Keith Lamont Scott

The bodycam video released Tuesday night after first being viewed by Scott’s family shows officers treating Scott’s gunshot wounds and one officer telling his colleague to “stay right here with the gun.” Scott can be heard moaning as officers ask his name and one encourages him to “stay with us.”

Scott’s final moments also were recorded by his wife, Rakeyia, in a video shared widely on social media. She can be heard shouting to police that her husband “doesn’t have a gun, he has a TBI.” She pleads with the officers not to shoot before a burst of gunfire can be heard.

Scott’s family and the public had pleaded for the release of the remaining video by police, notes CBS Charlotte affiliate WBTV.

“You see a human being, a father, a husband lose his life,” said Justin Bamberg, an attorney for the Scott family.

In two-hour dash-cam video also made public Tuesday night, Scott can be seen getting shot, but most of that video consists of officers walking around by the crime scene. 

After running his motorcycle into a tree in November 2015, Scott struggled to recover from two broken hips and a broken pelvis as well as his brain injury, his mother told a TV station.

“You could look at him and tell something was wrong,” said Dana Chapman, a former neighbor. “You could walk up to him; you didn’t have to speak. You could look at him and tell there was a problem.”

Chapman said he would see Scott walking twice a day, leaning on a wooden cane for support. “He had to learn how to talk again, how to walk again,” Chapman said.

Another neighbor, Anthony Spain, said Scott must have zoned out as police were yelling at him.

“He was like a baby,” Spain told the Gaston Gazette, comparing his friend to an Alzheimer’s patient. “They killed a baby.”

TBIs range in their severity. But if Scott had to relearn how to walk and talk, he likely suffered an injury acute enough to permanently affect brain function, according to Jeffrey S. Kutcher, national Director of the Sports Neurology Clinic at the CORE Institute, in Brighton, Michigan. That “can lead to devastating changes in behavior, impulse control and really, any cognitive function.”

“Not having an appropriate response in a stressful, chaotic event is certainly a potential effect of a TBI,” added Kutcher, director of the NBA’s concussion program. Kutcher, who also never treated Scott, said the “zoning-out” Scott’s friends described could be a direct effect of the TBI or medications.

The family stopped talking with the media after Scott’s brother-in-law, Ray Dotch, objected to questions about Scott’s criminal background, saying he shouldn’t have to “humanize him in order for him to be treated fairly.”

“What we know and what you should know about him is that he was an American citizen who deserved better,” Dotch said.

Scott had several convictions and served time in prison, court records show. As a teenager, he pleaded guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a minor and received a 12-month suspended sentence. He later served six years in Texas for evading arrest with a vehicle and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and was released in 2011.

Court documents also show Scott’s wife filed a restraining order a month before his accident, when she said he threatened to kill her and her son with a gun and hit the boy with his fist. Rakeyia Scott warned law officers then to be aware that he “carries a 9mm black” gun, and checked boxes to indicate her husband had neither a county-issued permit to buy a handgun nor a state permit to carry a concealed handgun. Rakeyia Scott later dropped her request.