In US North Carolina victim's family releases own video

The officer involved in the shooting, Betty Shelby, turned herself in early on Friday and was released on $50,000 bond.

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Footage of victim Keith Scott (left) being shot has been released by his family play

Footage of victim Keith Scott (left) being shot has been released by his family

(Independent)
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The family of a black man fatally shot by police in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Friday released its own video of the encounter that sparked three days of protests, and they continued to urge officials to release their own recordings of the slaying.

The moment that a black police officer shoots Keith Scott, a 43-year-old father of seven, cannot be seen in the two-minute video recorded by his wife, Rakeyia, who can be heard urging officers not to open fire.

"Don't shoot him! He has no weapon," she can be heard telling officers as they yell at Scott, "Drop the gun!" About a half-dozen gunshots can be heard in the video released to U.S. media, followed by her scream, "Did you shoot him? He better not be dead."

The video was filmed from a nearby curb as the drama unfolded on the street in front of Rakeyia Scott.

Scott's death was the latest in a long string of controversial killings of black people by U.S. police that have stirred an intense debate on race and justice and unleashed waves of protests and riots. A United Nations working group on Friday compared the killings to the lynching of black people by white mobs in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Scott's death sparked two days of rioting in Charlotte, North Carolina's largest city, with protesters dismissing police officers' claim that Scott was holding a gun.

Charlotte-Mecklenberg Police Chief Kerr Putney has said that video taken by police body cameras supports the police's version of events, but he has refused to release the video publicly. He told reporters on Friday that releasing the video now could harm the investigation into the shooting, now being led by the state.

"I know the expectation is that video footage can be the panacea and I can tell you that is not the case," Putney said, adding that he would eventually agree with the release of the video. "It's a matter of when and a matter of sequence."

Scott's family initially contended that he was carrying a book, but after viewing the police video on Thursday the family said it was "impossible to discern" what, if anything, Scott was carrying.

"There's nothing in that video that shows him acting aggressively, threatening or maybe dangerous," Justin Bamberg, one of the lawyers representing the family, said in an interview early on Friday.

No gun can be seen in Mrs. Scott's video.

Governor Pat McCrory, a Republican locked in a tight re-election race, signed a law last week that would require authorities to obtain a court order before releasing police video. Critics say it would prevent the sort of transparency that is needed to defuse public anger in the wake of police shootings.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton added her voice to the calls for the release of the footage.

"Charlotte should release police video of the Keith Lamont Scott shooting without delay. We must ensure justice & work to bridge divides," she said on Twitter on Friday.

Scott was the 214th black person killed by U.S. police this year out of an overall total of 821, according to Mapping Police Violence, a group created out of the protest movement. There is no national-level government data on police shootings.

The UN working group recommended the United States create a reliable national system to track killings and excessive use of force by law enforcement officials, as well as ending the practice of racial profiling.

On Friday, Charlotte police arrested a civilian and charged him with the murder of a protester who died on Thursday after being shot the previous night during protests in the city, Putney told a news conference.

Police identified the suspected shooter as Rayquan Borum, 21, and the victim as Justin Carr. They did not disclose Carr's age. According to the Charlotte Observer, he was 26.

POLITICAL BATTLES

The killing and its aftermath are playing out in a state that has been at the forefront of some of the nation's most bitter political fights in recent years.

North Carolina's Republican-dominated state legislature has tightened voting laws, slashed education spending and passed a law prohibiting transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice.

Civil rights leaders say that state officials who pursue these policies are partly to blame for this week's unrest.

"It's somewhat hypocritical to cry out against violence when you pass violent policies," said the Rev. William Barber, head of the North Carolina NAACP.

In contrast to the tension in Charlotte, the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was calm after a white police officer was charged with first-degree manslaughter on Thursday for the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man, Terence Crutcher, that was also captured on video.

The officer involved in the shooting, Betty Shelby, turned herself in early on Friday and was released on $50,000 bond.

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