Additional reporting by Tess Owen.
The first video footage of the fatal encounter between police in Charlotte and Keith Lamont Scott was made public on Friday, hours after city officials said they had no timeline for releasing bodycam footage from the officers on the scene.
The video, which was obtained by several media outlets, was filmed by Scott’s wife on September 20. It does not offer a clear view of Scott as police open fire, but it shows the moments leading up to the shooting and the aftermath, with Scott’s body sprawled on the pavement.
In the first seconds of the video, Scott’s wife can be heard saying repeatedly, “Don’t shoot him, don’t shoot him. He has no weapon.” Police have said Scott was holding a gun when he was shot, but witnesses have claimed he was merely holding a book.
A police officer can heard shouting “drop the gun, drop the gun.” Scott’s wife, sounding exasperated, shouts back, “He doesn’t have a gun, he has a TBI [Traumatic Brain Injury]. He’s not going to do anything to you guys, he just took his medicine.”
Several reports about the shooting characterized Scott as “disabled.” The description was never confirmed by his family.
Scott’s wife urges her husband to exit his vehicle, and then says several times, “Don’t do it.” It’s unclear what she’s referring to in these moments.
“Keith get out the car,” she says. “Keith don’t you do it. Don’t you do it. Don’t you fucking do it.”
Several gunshots ring out, and Scott’s wife moves closer to the scene.
“Did you shoot him? Did you shoot him? He better not be fucking dead,” she says. She asks if anyone has called 911, and says as she continues to record, “These are the police officers who shot my husband. And hed better live, because he didn’t do nothing to them.
The incident provoked outrage in Charlotte this week. Protesters rioted in the city’s downtown, clashing with police officers, looting shops, and vandalizing vehicles. The city declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew on Thursday night.
Charlotte police allowed Scott’s family to view the bodycam footage from the incident on Friday. After seeing the footage, one of the family’s attorneys, Justin Bamberg, said in astatement that they were left with “more questions than answers.”
Charlotte Police Chief Kerr Putney told reporters at a press conference on Thursday that the bodycam videos will be made public only “when there is a compelling reason.”
When Putney was asked whether the footage that is currently available shows Scott pointing a weapon at police, he said, “I did not see that in the videos that I reviewed.”
Charles G. Monnett, another attorney for the Scott family, said the decision to release the video on Friday was made “in the name of truth and transparency.”
“The family is still hopeful that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and city of Charlotte will release all available video of the incident to the public so that people can draw their own conclusions about Keith’s death,” Monnett said in a statement. “We encourage everyone to reserve judgment until all the facts are known. This is simply one step in our quest to find the truth for this family.”
Monnett said the Scott family asked for “peace in Charlotte as we continue to learn more about the tragic events that unfolded September 20.”
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