Andrew Murray, the Mecklenburg County district attorney, held a news conference earlier today where he announced the office’s decision that Officer Brentley Vinson’s “use of force was lawful” when he shot Keith Lamont Scott dead on September 20 in Charlotte, North Carolina, as reported by CNN.
Murray has called for “calm” in the wake of the news.
Newly released images show Mr. Scott wearing a gun in a holster on his ankle. Viewers of previous versions of the Keith Lamont Scott video footage available will no doubt be able to spot the gun and the holster on the man’s ankle, given the new information.
Murray admitted that none of the Keith Scott shooting video footage available, even now, clearly shows the man’s hands.
“What is clearly captured on video is Mr. Scott’s right ankle,” the district attorney stated.
Andrew Murray described footage where Keith Scott exited his vehicle with the right leg of his pants pulled up, above the ankle, revealing what appears to be a holster and possibly a gun.
New Keith Scott video footage from a convenience store earlier in the day he was killed is said to show Scott with a “bulge” around his ankle “consistent with the holster and gun later described by officers.”
Before making the decision to shoot Scott, Officer Vinson, who is African-American, described the man repeatedly failing to follow instructions from the officers, before looking around at each of them.
“I know some are going to be frustrated,” Murray was quoted about the decision.
The DA insisted that Officer Vinson “was justified in shooting” Keith Scott.
The unanimous decision not to pursue charges against Vinson was reached by 15 prosecutors.
Gabe Gutierrez with NBC spoke with Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC following the news where they agreed that the findings of the district attorney’s office was in “sharp contrast” with the version of events claimed by Keith Scott’s family members and eyewitnesses.
Scott’s death was marked by two nights of rioting followed by protests described as “peaceful” in Charlotte.
Gutierrez observed that the case became “controversial” because it was known that video footage of the events existed, but that only parts were released, and slowly. The journalist also noted questions being raised as to whether the officers involved “followed policy,” citing body cams worn at the time of the shooting that were turned off.
An attorney for Keith Scott’s family, Charles Monnett, stated at a second press conference that today’s news does not end their “inquiry” into the circumstances surrounding his death.
“We still have concerns,” the family’s lawyer was quoted. “We still have real questions about what decisions were made that day.”
A total of three Charlotte police officers, as well as a sergeant, are reported to have professed to seeing the gun possessed by Scott, visible in the new video footage and still images.
Prior to being approached by officers, Andrew Murray described Scott being observed by Officer Vinson fashioning a “blunt” out of a cigarillo and marijuana stored in a pill container after backing his vehicle into a parking space so that he was seated directly adjacent to the officer in the next parking space, who was parked in a forward-facing position,
After observing Mr. Scott smoke the blunt, the remainder of which was reportedly recovered at the scene, the police officers were described deciding that the marijuana “did not warrant an interruption” of their operation.
“We’re not really worried about a little marijuana,” Brentley Vinson was quoted.
However, Vinson reportedly became alarmed when Scott held a gun in plain view while sitting in his vehicle, which caused him to report his findings to his superiors, escalating the situation into an investigation of both the marijuana and the gun.
[Featured Image by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department/AP Images]