CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WNCN/AP) — In a news conference on Saturday afternoon, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police announced the release of body cam and dash-cam video of the deadly shooting involving Keith Lamont Scott.
Dashboard camera video shows two officers pointing their guns at Keith Lamont Scott, who is inside an SUV with the doors closed and windows rolled up on Tuesday afternoon.
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 the man’s hands.
From a different angle, police body camera footage 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 on the ground.
Audio in the body camera footage can’t be heard until after Scott is on the ground.
The police also released a lengthy account of what they say happened (scroll down to read the full statement), photos of a gun, ankle holster and marijuana “blunt” they say Scott had on him at time of encounter.
The department said in an update released late Saturday afternoon that says two plainclothes officers were preparing to arrest someone else when they saw Scott sitting in an SUV, rolling a marijuana blunt.
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.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said in a news conference that the SBI assured him that releasing the video would not “adversely impact” their independent investigation.
Putney also said Keith Lamont Scott, who was shot by police on Tuesday afternoon, was “absolutely in possession of a handgun.”
But, police said the videos they released show no definitive visual evidence Scott had a gun in his hand. But Putney says other evidence from the scene proves it.
During the Tuesday incident, officers were trying to serve a warrant on someone else but then spotted the man they ultimately shot and killed, Putney said.
Putney told reporters on Saturday that officers saw marijuana and a weapon in Keith Lamont Scott’s car and said, “uh oh, this is a safety issue for us and the public.”
Putney said he is releasing what he sees as “indisputable evidence that the facts we started with are the facts that remain.”
“These are tough times for our city and we’re going to get through it,” he added during the news conference.
Community activists have been for days calling on Putney to release body cam and dashcam video of the shooting of 43-year-old Scott. Putney has said he wants to be transparent but also won’t compromise his investigation.
Scott’s family has viewed the videos and has called on Putney to release them to the public.
“In name of transparency, you’re going to get everything we can deliver. Facts, footage, explanation of where we stand in the case,” Putney said.
The chief says he thinks people can interpret what they want. Then added, “But you have to look all pieces. And I stand by the facts.”
North Carolina. Gov. Pat McCrory says he supports the decision to release police video recordings showing the shooting of a black man.
McCrory said in a statement Saturday that he supported the decision of Putney. McCrory also said he had been assured by state investigators that the release wouldn’t have an impact on their probe into the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott.
McCrory’s statement came minutes before Putney held a news conference saying he would release dashcam and body camera video of the shooting.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report
Full statement from Charlotte Police on Saturday afternoon:
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 of them.
The officers observed the driver, later identified as Mr. Keith Lamont Scott, rolling what they believed to be a marijuana “blunt.” Officers did not consider Mr. Scott’s drug activity to be a priority at the time and they resumed the warrant operation. A short time later, Officer Vinson observed Mr. Scott hold a gun up.
Because of that, the officers had probable cause to arrest him for the drug violation and to further investigate Mr. Scott being in possession of the gun.
Due to the combination of illegal drugs and the gun Mr. Scott had in his possession, officers decided to take enforcement action for public safety concerns. Officers departed 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 Mr. 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. Mr. 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 utilized his baton to attempt to breach the front passenger window in an effort to arrest Mr. Scott.
Mr. Scott then exited the vehicle with the gun and backed away from the vehicle while continuing to ignore officers’ repeated loud verbal commands to drop the gun. Officer 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.
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 Mr. Scott to drop the weapon and also confirmed that at no time did Mr. Scott comply with their commands.
A lab analysis conducted of the gun crime scene investigators recovered at the scene revealed the presence of Mr. Scott’s DNA and his fingerprints on the gun. It was also determined that the gun Mr. Scott possessed was loaded at the time of the encounter with the officers. The investigation also revealed that Mr. Scott was wearing an ankle holster at the time of the event.
Attached are photos of the gun, ankle holster and marijuana “blunt” in Mr. Scott’s possession at the time of the incident. Additionally, links to the portion of the digital mobile video recorder (dash-cam) and body worn camera footage that capture the time of the shooting are included below.
The body worn camera illustrates the footage from the moment it was turned on until officers began rendering first aid to Mr. Scott
The dash-cam footage is from the time in which the officer operating the car with the dash-cam video arrives on the scene until officers began rendering first aid to Mr. Scott.