Keith Lamont Scott was shot and killed by police in Charlotte on Tuesday and police video will soon show the exact circumstances of the controversial shooting.
Scott’s killing led to a massive demonstration in Charlotte as residents protested what appeared to many to be an unjustified shooting. Family members claimed that the disabled Scott was sitting in his car waiting to pick up his son from the school bus when police opened fire, but police claim that Scott was armed and pointed a gun, a discrepancy that will likely be sorted out with police video of the shooting.
Scott was fatally shot on Tuesday as he sat in his car just before 4:00 p.m. at an apartment complex. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department were reportedly searching the area for a different person who had an outstanding warrant.
As police were searching the area, they reportedly saw a man exit his car with a gun before getting back inside. The man reportedly left the vehicle again and “posed an imminent deadly threat to the officers who subsequently fired their weapon striking the subject,” police said in a statement.
The 43-year-old Scott was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
There were conflicting reports about exactly how Keith Lamont Scott was killed, with police saying that Scott threatened officers with a weapon.
“He is armed, with a handgun that we found on scene as well…Makes some imminent threat to them and because of that, at least one of our officers fired rounds at the subject,” police said during a press conference via Fox 46 Charlotte.
But family members claimed that Scott was simply sitting in his car and reading a book while he waited to pick up his son from the school bus. They noted that Scott is disabled.
Another family member told reporters that police may have failed to identify themselves before shooting Scott.
There should be more clarity once the video of Keith Lamont Scott’s shooting is released. Last year, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department purchased 1,400 body cameras to equip all officers, a project that will cost $5.5 million over five years. These cameras are required to record for a number of activities, including traffic stops and uses of force, meaning that video already exists of Scott’s shooting death.
That also means that the public will get a close-up view of exactly how Scott was killed, rather than the further and sometimes obstructed video that previously came from dashcams, the Charlotte Observer noted last year.
Chief Kerr Putney told the Observer this month that dashcams are obsolete. Using the lipstick-sized body-worn cameras “is going to give you a lot more opportunities to capture (what happened),” Putney said.
In January, Charlotte City Council unanimously voted to buy body cameras for the police. Charlotte officials have said that the body-worn cameras are more effective than dashcams in achieving accountability and transparency.
But how long it will take for the video of Scott’s death to be released remains unclear. For example, the full footage of the shooting death of Jonathan Ferrell, a college football player shot to death by a Charlotte police officer in 2013, was not released until nearly two years. As NBC News noted, the full video was shown at the trial for officer Adam Neal, who faced a voluntary manslaughter charge. The jury ultimately deadlocked.
Even without video of the Keith Lamont Scott released, tensions in the Charlotte area have reached a boiling point. His death is the sixth by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department this year, and within hours it drew more than 100 people to the scene of the shooting to protest against police.
There is already video of the aftermath of Scott’s shooting. A woman who identified herself as his daughter recorded a video that was posted to Facebook Live, saying that her father was unarmed and targeted because of his race.
“The police just shot my daddy four times for being black,” she said in the video.
So far, police have not commented on when the video of Keith Lamont Scott’s shooting death might be released.
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