After a week of intense public pressure, the Charlotte Police Department released video footage of officers shooting Keith Lamont Scott. The videos, which were recorded by an officer’s body camera and a police vehicle dash-cam, offered a new perspective of the event that sparked major riots and protests within the city.
On September 20, Charlotte police shot Scott and claimed he was holding a gun, however witnesses are saying otherwise. Chief Kerr Putey of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police stated Saturday that the officers approached Scott due to suspected marijuana possession. The incident escalated when police thought Scott was holding a gun. Police did release photos of a pistol and holster that were found at the scene.
Prior to the police footage, Scott’s family released a cellphone video recorded by Scott’s wife. In the video, she is saying “Don’t shoot him, don’t shoot him, he has no weapon.” The family claims Scott was holding a book.
The dash-cam video shows Scott slowly backing away from his SUV with his hands down. Four shorts are fired and he falls to the ground. The body camera shows an officer with a gun approach Scott. This video does not show the moment the shots are fired but does show Scott on the ground.
The videos do little to answer pressing questions about whether Scott was in possession of a firearm, although he can be seen backing away from officers when he is shot four times.
Before the release of the video, hundreds massed outside at the Charlotte Police Department building on Saturday afternoon chanting the name “Keith Scott.” They also chanted, “No tapes, no peace” and raised signs including one reading “Stop Killing The Black People.”
Justin Bamberg, an attorney for Scott’s family, said that Scott “doesn't make any dramatic movements" during the encounter, and said he appeared to take a couple of steps forward "in a nonaggressive manner."
Putney initially refused to make the videos public, citing the ongoing investigation into the incident and fear of backlash. Protesters took to the streets throughout the week, with the demonstrations erupting into violence. One person was shot and killed, officers were injured, and looters ransacked stores and vandalized property.
The city has been on edge ever since Scott’s shooting death. The National Guard has been called in to maintain peace.