Charlotte Shooting Protesters rally again to demand release of shooting video

Police, so far, have refused to release the video, saying that doing so at this time could compromise the investigation.

  • Published:
Charlotte protests diminish early on Friday as family views video play

Charlotte protests diminish early on Friday as family views video

(Reuters)
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Demonstrators on Saturday mounted a fifth day of protests in Charlotte, North Carolina, in response to the fatal police shooting of a black man, again pressing police to release video of the incident and calling for officers to be prosecuted.

The shooting on Tuesday of Keith Scott, a 43-year-old father of seven, was the latest in a series of deadly police encounters across the country in recent years that has raised questions about use of force by U.S. law enforcement against African-Americans and other minorities.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Marshall Park, which is near the center of Charlotte and is graced by a statue of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, on a hot, humid afternoon, demanding release of the police dashboard camera and body camera video of the shooting.

Police, so far, have refused to release the video, saying that doing so at this time could compromise the investigation.

The State Bureau of Investigation on Friday night said the city was free to release the video whenever it chooses.

The circumstances of Scott's shooting, including whether Scott was brandishing a gun as police have said, have come under intense scrutiny, which increased when the man's family on Friday released a cellphone video taken by Scott's wife, Rakeyia.

The two-minute video recorded by Scott's wife showed the events leading up to the shooting, but not the shooting itself. In the video, Mrs. Scott can be heard pleading with officers to hold fire as they confronted her husband in a parked car outside a Charlotte apartment complex.

Mrs. Scott used her cellphone camera when she saw police confronting her husband in a parked car outside a Charlotte apartment complex. She can be heard telling officers "Don't shoot him! He has no weapon" as they yell at Scott, "Drop the gun!"

Mrs. Scott also can be heard shouting "Keith, Keith, don't do it," although it is not clear whether she is directing her comments to her husband or police. The footage captures the sound of four shots but does not show Scott being hit.

It is not clear from the footage whether Scott was in possession of a gun.

Scott, who was sitting in a parked car when confronted by police, was shot by Officer Brentley Vinson, who has been placed on paid administrative leave. Vinson is also black.

At Saturday's rally, along with calls for release of the video and an end to the emergency measures clamped down on Charlotte after protests turned violent earlier in the week, protesters said serious steps must be taken to address core problems.

"There has to be systemic changes, there has to be policy changes, there has to be heart changes, to make this city truly safe," the Rev. Corine Mack, president of the Charlotte branch of the NAACP, said in remarks broadcast by CNN.

Mack said the U.S. Department of Justice has launched a preliminary investigation into the case. The Justice Department could not be reached immediately for comment.

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Protesters also demanded the prosecution of officers involved in Scott's killing and the release of people arrested in this week's rioting and unrest.

There was a limited uniformed police presence at the rally, with officers seen speaking with protesters and community activists.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney has said that the unreleased video supported the police version of events. Putney said on Friday that he would eventually agree to the release of the video, adding, "It's a matter of when and a matter of sequence."

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