Charlotte-Mecklenburg police released the dashcam and body camera footage Saturday of the encounter in which an officer fatally shot Keith Lamont Scott, and provided the following explanation of events from Tuesday’s shooting:
Two plain clothes officers were sitting inside of their unmarked police vehicle preparing to serve an arrest warrant in the parking lot of The Village at College Downs when a white SUV pulled in and parked beside them.
>>BODY CAM AND DASHCAM VIDEO CAN BE FOUND HERE
The officers saw the driver, later identified as Scott, rolling what they believed to be a marijuana “blunt.”
Officers did not consider Scott’s drug activity to be a priority at the time and they resumed the warrant operation. A short time later, Officer Brentley Vinson saw Scott hold up a gun.
Because of that, the officers had probable cause to arrest him for the drug violation and to further investigate Scott being in possession of the gun.
Due to the combination of illegal drugs and the gun Scott had in his possession, officers decided to take enforcement action for public safety concerns. Officers left the immediate area to outfit themselves with marked duty vests and equipment that would clearly identify them as police officers.
Upon returning, the officers again witnessed Scott in possession of a gun. The officers immediately identified themselves as police officers and gave clear, loud and repeated verbal commands to drop the gun. Scott refused to follow the officers' repeated verbal commands.
A uniformed officer in a marked patrol vehicle arrived to assist the officers. The uniformed officer used his baton to attempt to breach the front passenger window in an effort to arrest Scott.
Scott then exited the SUV with the gun and backed away from the vehicle while continuing to ignore officers’ repeated loud verbal commands to drop the gun. Vinson perceived Scott’s actions and movements as an imminent physical threat to himself and the other officers, and fired his issued service weapon, striking Scott.
Officers immediately rendered first aid and requested Medic to send personnel to the scene.
Homicide unit detectives interviewed multiple independent civilian witnesses at the scene and at police headquarters. Those witnesses confirmed that officers gave numerous loud verbal commands for Scott to drop the weapon and also confirmed that at no time did Scott comply with their commands.
A lab analysis conducted of the gun crime scene investigators recovered at the scene revealed the presence of Scott’s DNA and his fingerprints on the gun. It was also determined that the gun Scott possessed was loaded at the time of the encounter with the officers. The investigation also revealed that Scott was wearing an ankle holster at the time of the event.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Chief Kerr Putney released videos Saturday of the deadly encounter.
Putney said he released one body-worn camera video, dashcam footage, photos of a gun, ankle holster and a marijuana “blunt” in Scott’s possession at the time. There are more videos, but the ones police released show the actual incident, officials said.
Scott, a 43-year-old black man, was shot and killed Tuesday by Vinson, who is also black, officials said.
Putney said Scott was "absolutely in possession of a handgun" based on evidence from the scene, but that the video does not definitively prove a gun was in his hand. He said that officials will have to look at the whole picture.
Putney said the officers saw Scott with marijuana but were not interested in him until he brought out a gun. Putney said he will not charge the officers, but he added that the State Bureau of Investigation is still investigating.
"We do not shoot to kill. I wish I could control the outcome of the shootings," Putney added.
Putney said he decided to release the videos Saturday because SBI officials told him it would not have any "adverse impact" to their independent investigation. Putney said his aim was to handle the situation correctly instead of quickly.
He said if laws had been violated by the officers, he would likely be taking a different action.
Hundreds of people chanted “Keith Scott” Saturday afternoon outside police headquarters. Protesters congregated earlier in the day at Marshall Park, chanting, "No tapes, no peace."
Reporter Tina Terry said she heard protesters say they "will occupy the streets of Charlotte until police release the full video."
Gov. Pat McCrory released the following statement:
"As governor of North Carolina, I concur with the Charlotte police chief's decision to release the tapes. I have been assured by the State Bureau of Investigation that the release will have no material impact on the independent investigation since most of the known witnesses have been interviewed. 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."
Congresswoman Alma Adams, D-N.C., released the following statement:
"I continue to believe that we need greater transparency, accountability, collaboration and cooperation. As I expressed earlier in my letter to Chief Putney, law enforcement should release the official video. I am relieved to learn they will this afternoon. We all deserve the truth, justice and a way forward so that we can heal and become an example of a city that emerges stronger and safer because we chose to address our problems-even after all the television cameras have gone."
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