CHARLOTTE, N.C. — There have been both peaceful demonstrations and violent protests every day since Tuesday’s shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott: the black man fatally shot by a Charlotte police officer. The officer is also black.
Chief among protesters’ demands has been the public release of dashcam and body camera video of the shooting. From the start, police have said Scott refused officers’ demands to drop a gun. Neighbors have said there was no gun, but Chief Kerr Putney has been adamant the footage would back up his officers’ initial claims.
On Saturday, Putney released to the public footage from one of the officers’ body cameras, as well as dashboard camera. Police also released photos of a handgun and holster they said were recovered from the scene, as well as marijuana.
At a news conference, Putney said that his officers didn’t break the law but noted that the state is continuing its investigation and that Scott was “absolutely in possession of a handgun.”
Here are the details from the videos and other information that has been released:
Several officers were present when Scott was shot, but police have released footage from only one body camera, although Putney said Saturday other footage remains that the public hasn’t seen.
The shaky video shows an officer approach with his gun drawn and another officer already pointing his gun at Scott.
When Scott comes into view, he has his hands at his side and is standing outside of his car. The body camera footage doesn’t show the moment the shots are fired, and Scott next comes into view already lying on the ground.
Audio in the body camera footage can’t be heard until after Scott is on the ground.
From a different angle, the dashboard camera video shows two officers pointing their guns at Scott, who is inside an SUV with the doors closed and windows rolled up.
Scott gets out, starts walking backward, and then four shots ring out. His wife’s voice is audible as she yells both at him and at officers. It’s unclear if there’s anything in Scott’s hands.
The voice of Scott’s wife, who was filming the situation on her cellphone, can be heard in the video, telling officers her husband doesn’t have a gun.
The department also released a narrative of what happened in the moments leading up to the shooting and immediately following it. Two plainclothes officers were preparing to arrest someone else when they saw Scott sitting in an SUV, rolling a marijuana blunt, they said.
Officers say they weren’t concerned about the drugs until they noticed that Scott had a gun with him, according to police. But after an officer “observed Mr. Scott hold a gun up,” police put on marked vests to identify themselves as officers, police added.
The officers say they identified themselves as police and gave Scott orders to drop the gun, which he refused. A uniformed officer tried to use a baton to break out a window on Scott’s SUV, the narrative states.
Police say the man got out of the SUV, with the gun, and backed away while ignoring the demands to drop it.
Perceiving Scott’s actions as an “imminent physical threat,” Officer Brentley Vinson fired his weapon at Scott, according to the statement. Both Vinson and Scott are black.
Police say detectives interviewed witnesses, who confirmed that Scott hadn’t complied with officers’ demands.
The report also says forensic examination shows Scott’s DNA and fingerprints on the loaded gun retrieved from the scene and that Scott was wearing an ankle holster.