Keith Scott’s family sees video of shooting death, lawyer says

Keith Scott

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WNCN) – The family of Keith Scott watched a video of the Tuesday officer-involved shooting that left the 43-year-old dead, a family attorney confirmed.

The attorney said the family watched the video multiple times but are not commenting on what they saw.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said the video of the shooting doesn’t definitively show a gun in the man’s hand.

Putney said earlier Thursday, “I’m not here to defend a position, I am here to get you information.”

Witnesses saw a gun and a weapon was found close by Scott’s body, Putney said.

“We’re here to seek the truth,” Putney said regarding conflicting information that has been circulating regarding the shooting.

Putney said the SBI is taking over the investigation.

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, also at the press conference, called the last two days “difficult” for the city.

“This has been a difficult couple of days for the City of Charlotte. The events we saw last night are not the Charlotte I know and love. They are not reflective of our community, of the deep-seated traditions we have of collaboration and peace,” she said. “I ask again for calm and peace. It is important that we have a full and transparent investigation of the original incident.”

Roberts said that the Scott family will see the police shooting video on Thursday and gave no time frame for releasing it to the public.

Putney said that police will only release the video “when we believe there is a compelling reason,” but said he will “not…jeopardize the investigation” by releasing it.

Putney said later that the media and public should not expect the video from the incident to be released at any point.

He did say that he had reviewed a number of videos of the incident and did not see definitive evidence that Scott pointed a gun.

“The video does not give me absolute, definitive visual evidence that would confirm that a person is pointing a gun. I did not see that in the videos I reviewed. What I can tell you is that when taken with the totality of all the other evidence, it supports what we’ve heard and the version of the truth that we gave about the circumstances of what happened that led to the death of [Keith Scott],” he said.

Scott, 43, was killed Tuesday while police were serving a warrant at The Village at College Downs apartment complex on Old Concord Road.

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Putney says Brentley Vinson, the officer who opened fire, was not wearing a body camera. Putney says other uniformed officers on scene were. Vinson was reportedly wearing plain clothes and a clearly marked CMPD vest.

“I can tell you a weapon was seized, a handgun,” Putney said in Wednesday’s press conference. “I can also tell you we did not find a book that has been made referenced to.”

Others, such as Scott’s family, have disputed information that he had a gun, saying that he was armed with nothing more than a book. However, a photo released by a source close to the investigation appeared to show a gun next to Scott’s body.

Demonstrators held a vigil for Scott on Wednesday night in uptown, but hundreds more joined the protests and marched through the streets of Charlotte. As dusk turned to night, the protests erupted into violence as the protesters engaged in skirmishes with police officers in riot gear.

The mayor and police chief provided an update on Wednesday night’s protests where one person was shot and dozens were arrested.

Roberts said that the person shot during protests Wednesday night remains in critical condition. Putney said police are still reviewing video of last night’s shooting and investigating whether and officer was involved.

Initial reports indicated that the person shot was killed and some on the scene had said that an officer shot them. Reports quickly followed saying that officers were not involved in the shooting. Early Thursday morning reports emerged that the victim did not actually die.

Gov. McCrory declared a state of emergency Wednesday night and the North Carolina National Guard was deployed to Charlotte and could be seen throughout the city Thursday morning.

Putney said the National Guard was deployed to “protect our infrastructure and assets so we prevent further damage.”

Stores have been destroyed and looted during the two nights of protests across the city.

So far there have been 44 arrests during the protests, Putney said. The arrests are related to crimes including failure to disperse, assault, and breaking and entering. The chief said more arrests will be forthcoming.

Putney also said that five officers were injured Wednesday night and nine civilians suffered injuries. Two of the officers suffered eye injuries and three others were treated for heat exhaustion.

Protests are expected to continue Thursday night and police will have several hundred additional officers and they will “be a lot more proactive,” Putney said.

The chief also said that he doesn’t believe a curfew will be necessary.

“Right now we don’t see the need to shut the city down at a specific hour,” he said.

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