Videos of Charlotte shooting released

The body and dashboard camera videos released by the authorities on Saturday appear to show Mr Scott getting out of a white sport utility vehicle and backing away with his hands by his sides. No gun can be seen on Mr Scott in the videos, corroboratin
The body and dashboard camera videos released by the authorities on Saturday appear to show Mr Scott getting out of a white sport utility vehicle and backing away with his hands by his sides. No gun can be seen on Mr Scott in the videos, corroborating what his family has said.PHOTO: REUTERS

Officials relent and release footage of police shooting of black man in wake of public anger

WASHINGTON • Charlotte authorities have released footage of the deadly shooting of a black man by police officers, after days of heavy pressure from politicians and protesters.

The police now allege that Mr Scott had a gun as well as marijuana in his possession.

The death of Mr Keith Lamont Scott, 43, is only the latest in a string of police-linked killings of black men that have fuelled outrage across the United States. It triggered days of ongoing and, sometimes, violent protests in this southern city that left one man dead.

The body and dashboard camera videos released on Saturday appear to show Mr Scott getting out of a white sport utility vehicle and backing away with his hands by his sides. Police officers can be heard yelling "Drop the gun!", although Mr Scott did not appear to be acting in an aggressive manner and cannot be seen pointing anything at the officers.

Police then fire four shots at him. After he falls to the ground, Mr Scott can be heard moaning weakly as officers handcuff him. But the videos do not show the entire incident and still leave several questions unanswered.

No gun can be seen on Mr Scott in the videos, corroborating what his family has said. "There is no definitive evidence in this video as to whether or not there is an object in his hand and, if there is, what that object is," said the Scott family's lawyer, Mr Justin Bamberg.

However the police alleged they had recovered a loaded gun with Mr Scott's DNA and that he was wearing an ankle holster. They then released photographs of the alleged items and a marijuana cigarette.

They said the confrontation was triggered after the officers - who were preparing to serve a warrant on another person - noticed Mr Scott rolling a marijuana cigarette in his vehicle outside his housing complex.

They added that they also saw him "hold a gun up", according to a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department statement.

Mr Scott got out of his SUV "with the gun" and "backed away from the vehicle while continuing to ignore officers' repeated loud verbal commands to drop the gun," police said.

The officer who shot Mr Scott, Mr Brentley Vinson, is black.

"Officer Vinson perceived Mr Scott's actions and movements as an imminent physical threat to himself and the other officers," the police added.

In explaining why he was releasing the footage after initially refusing to do so, Police Chief Kerr Putney said people "want to see the facts, objective facts". "And that's what we're presenting."

After nearly a week, the protests against Mr Scott's death showed no signs of abating yesterday. Hundreds of people, both white and black, marched through Charlotte as the fifth night of demonstrations stretched into Sunday morning.

For the first time in three nights, police enforced a curfew and warned that they would arrest offenders. A crowd that gathered outside the police headquarters dispersed without any violence just after midnight.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 26, 2016, with the headline 'Videos of Charlotte shooting released'. Print Edition | Subscribe