Police Abuse

Keith Scott Family Releases Video of Charlotte Shooting Before Police Release Theirs

A law going into effect in North Carolina next month will keep body cam footage out of the hands of the public.


NY Times/YouTube

The family of Keith Scott released cellphone footage Keith Scott's wife took that captured video of the moments preceding and following the shooting of Scott by police in Charlotte, North Carolina. Audio is captured of the shooting itself but the cellphone is not facing it. In the video, which you can watch below, Scott's wife yells at police that Scott does not have a gun while police are heard ordring Scott to drop a gun. One officer asks for a "fucking baton" and the wife pleads with her husband "don't do it, Keith" shortly before he is shot.

Scott was shot on Tuesday by police who had shown up in search of a different person but say they saw Scott exit and re-enter his vehicle with a gun in his hand and turned their attention to him. Some of the protests on Tuesday evening escalated into rioting, and eventually authorities confirmed they had body camera footage of the shooting. The officer who shot Scott was not wearing one, but others were. (Charlotte rolled out body cameras last year, but in the first eight months only one in four fatal Charlotte police shootings have been caught on body cam).

After suggestions the video showed Scott pointing a gun at officers, police said the video would only show that Scott was holding a gun. Members of his family initially claimed Scott was holding a book—one of the family members also misidentified the police officer who shot Scott as white and called white people "devils"—the officer who shot Scott was black. The police department showed the body camera footage to the Scott family and their lawyer. Police say the footage confirms the police account even though it doesn't show Scott pointing a gun at officers. "When taken in the totality of all the other evidence," the police chief, Kerr Putney, said at a news conference, "it supports what we've heard and the version of the truth that we gave about the circumstances that happened that led to the death of Mr. Scott."

Police are insisting they cannot release the footage to the public because of an "active investigation," although it is unclear how release of the footage would sully the investigation any more than the police chief insisting all the evidence supports the police "version of the truth." On October 1, a new law goes into effect that removes body camera footage from the category of public records. While it should not apply to the Scott footage, a record that was created before the date the legislation goes into effect, that may not be a guarantee that the law does not eventually provide the department cover to prohibit the release of the footage. Out of the 12 state representatives and 5 state senators that represent Mecklenberg County, only one state senator, a Democrat, and two state representatives, a Democrat and a Republican, voted against the bill.

The video is on YouTube, courtesy of The New York Times:

Keith Scott's daughter previously posted an hour-plus Facebook Live video onto YouTube of the aftermath of the shooting.