Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., police have not been very forthcoming with information regarding the fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott on Sept. 20.
They refuse to release the body-cam footage.
The public at large has been left with more questions than answers. The following questions deserve direct, immediate answers:
1. Who shot Keith Lamont Scott?
Police say the shooter was black Police Officer Brentley Vinson, but an eyewitness to the shooting says that the officer who shot Scott was white, and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is trying to cover it up. The video shared by Scott’s wife, Rakeyia Scott, does show a glimpse of an officer who could be Vinson in the aftermath of the shooting, but from the angle of her video, Vinson is not seen near the vehicle when the confrontation happens before the shooting.
2. Why won’t the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department release the video?
If, as Chief Kerr Putney says, the police were justified in the shooting of Scott, wouldn’t the video footage prove that? There has been plenty of public outcry for the video to be released. Chief Putney went so far as to say a picture on social media allegedly showing a gun at Scott’s feet was credible, so why not prove that to the people with the actual video footage?
3. Was there actually a gun?
Here again, Putney has given conflicting and contradictory statements. While saying police were justified in shooting Scott, he has also said that the video did not provide “definitive evidence” that Scott had a gun. The family of Keith Lamont Scott has said that he did not have a gun. His wife is heard on her video telling police he doesn’t have a gun. An eyewitness said there was no gun. Lawyers for the Scott family have said they did not see a gun in the video. In fact, the only group claiming that Scott had a gun are the police themselves.
4. North Carolina is an open-carry state, so why did police approach Scott in the first place?
According to the law, merely seeing a person with a gun in the open is not enough reason for probable cause. The police don’t mention seeing him doing anything wrong. They simply saw him get out of his car with a gun. He didn’t get out of the car and start shooting at police. He didn’t get out of his car and shoot anyone. He simply had a gun. Why was that enough for them to engage him?
5. How are we as a people supposed to trust the police when it appears that they don’t have even the most basic training in de-escalating situations?
The Scott shooting is just the latest in a string of police shootings that seem to indicate police are quick to shoot first and ask questions later. There has not been much in the way of trying to calm a situation down before it ends in a fatal shooting. Exactly whom are the police here to protect and serve?
The public deserves answers to these and other questions as they pertain to the Scott shooting in particular, but also to the repeated fatal shootings of black men in general.
We probably shouldn’t hold our breaths waiting for said answers, however.