Charlotte chief: Family will be allowed to watch video of shooting

2016-09-22 20:46
Protesters block an intersection near the Transit Center as they march uptown in Charlotte. (Jeff Siner, The Charlotte Observer via AP)

Protesters block an intersection near the Transit Center as they march uptown in Charlotte. (Jeff Siner, The Charlotte Observer via AP)

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Charlotte — Charlotte's police chief said on Thursday he plans to show video of an officer shooting a black man to the slain man's family, but the video won't be immediately released to the public.

Charlottte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney told reporters during a news conference that the video does not definitively show 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott pointing a gun at anyone.

Putney said he is working to honour the request from the family of Scott to view the video. It's unclear when or if the video might be released publicly.

"Right now my priority is the people who really are the victims of the shooting," Putney said. "I'm telling you right now if you think I say we should display a victim's worst day for consumption, that is not the transparency I'm speaking of."

The video could be key to resolving the chasm between police, who say Scott refused repeated commands to drop his gun, and residents who say he was unarmed.

Residents say Scott was unarmed, holding only a book, and disabled by a brain injury. But it's unclear what the body cameras worn by three officers who were present during the shooting during the shooting may have captured. The plain-clothes officer who shot Scott, Brently Vinson, was not wearing a camera. He has been placed on leave, standard procedure in such cases. Vinson is black,

New law

As officials tried to quell the unrest, at least three major businesses were asking their employees to stay home for the day as the city remained on edge. Mayor Jennifer Roberts told ABC's Good Morning America that officials were considering a curfew, and she said in an interview with NPR that the timing of the video's release depends on how the investigation progresses.

When asked if officials shouldn't be more transparent, she said: "The transparency would be helpful if the footage is clear and if it covers all the different parts of what happened that evening. Since I haven't seen it, I'm not certain of that and that may be the case. There were a couple of different body cameras, there was a dash camera, but as you know sometimes those can be not clear."

North Carolina has a law that takes effect October 1 requiring a judge to approve releasing police video. Putney said he doesn't release video when a criminal investigation is ongoing.

‘My daddy is dead’

"He got out of his car, he walked back to comply, and all his compliance did was get him murdered," said Taheshia Williams, whose balcony overlooks the shady parking spot where Scott was on Tuesday afternoon. She said he often waited there for his son because a bicycle accident several years ago left him stuttering and susceptible to seizures if he stayed out in the sun too long.

Putney, the police chief, was angered by the stories on social media, especially a profanity-laced, hour-long video on Facebook, where a woman identifying herself as Scott's daughter screamed "My daddy is dead!" at officers at the shooting scene and repeating that he was only holding a book.

Putney was adamant that Scott posed a threat, even if he didn't point his weapon at officers, and said a gun was found next to the dead man. He also said: "I can tell you we did not find a book".

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