WATCH: Family releases shocking video of Charlotte shooting
24 September 2016, 16:24
Charlotte - The family of the African American man
whose death has triggered days of unrest in Charlotte, North Carolina has
released dramatic video of the police shooting, raising pressure on authorities
to make their own footage public. The video contains graphic footage and
Police have refused to release body-cam and
dash-cam video of Tuesday's shooting, which they say shows that Keith Lamont
Scott posed a threat to officers.
His death is the latest in a string of
police-involved killings of black men that have fueled outrage across America.
North Carolina's governor declared a state of
emergency in the southern US city after it was rocked by violence-marred
Several hundred demonstrators were out again for a
fourth night on Friday calling for the release of the videos amid a greater
presence of National Guard troops, but the atmosphere was calmer than during
A curfew beginning at midnight went into effect for
a second night, after protesters defied the order on Thursday.
Hundreds of demonstrators were also marching in the
southern city of Atlanta in a protest calling for police reform organised by the NAACP, the black community's
main civil rights organisation.
Charlotte's case has also touched the US
presidential race, with Mayor Jennifer Roberts asking both Hillary Clinton and
Donald Trump to delay visits, citing "very stretched resources for
Clinton tweeted that police should release the
footage "without delay."
President Barack Obama called for understanding as
he celebrated the opening of the Smithsonian's African American museum in
Washington this weekend.
The museum "allows all of us as Americans to put
our current circumstances in a historical context," the first black US
Scott was shot and killed at a Charlotte apartment
complex during an encounter with police searching for another person wanted for
Police say he had a handgun. His family says he was
holding a book.
The two-minute smartphone footage filmed by Rakeyia Scott and released by her lawyers does not
show the shooting itself - and does not conclusively answer the question of
whether he was armed - but captures the moments surrounding it as she pleads
with officers not to open fire.
It is also unclear whether police, a short distance
away, could hear her speaking to them and to her husband during the
"Don't shoot him, he has no weapon!" she
is heard saying.
"He has a TBI, he's not going to do anything
to you guys," she says, presumably referring to a traumatic brain injury.
Neighbours said Scott, 43, was disabled and had a stutter.
Scott records, police are heard yelling "Drop the gun! Drop the gun!"
"Don't let them break the windows. Come on out
the car," she shouts to her husband.
Four quick gunshots are heard, at which point the
phone is pointing away from the shooting.
Moments later, Scott is seen lying face down
surrounded by officers.
"Did you shoot him? Did you shoot him?"
his wife screams.
Scott's family has viewed the police footage and is leading calls for it to be made public.
Roberts, the mayor, told reporters the video should eventually be released - but that doing so too soon could interfere with the probe by leading witnesses to change their accounts.
The police, too, say the premature release of the video might interfere with a parallel state investigation.
"If I were to put it out indiscriminately and it doesn't give you good context, it can inflame the situation," Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney argued.
Charlotte's handling of the case contrasts sharply with a similar police shooting last week involving an African American man in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
There, the video was released and the white officer involved charged with first-degree manslaughter.
In Charlotte, the officer identified as having shot Scott is black.
No gun is visible in the police video, which shows Scott stepping backward when he was shot, according to a family lawyer.
"His hands are down by his side. He is acting calm," the lawyer, Justin Bamberg, told CNN. "You do see something in his hand, but it's impossible to make out from the video what it is."
A still image circulated on the day of the shooting appeared to show a gun on the ground near Scott's feet, but that image was taken after police tape was put up around the scene, while his wife's cell phone video during the incident showed no such object.
Protesters want video
Meanwhile, protesters marched on the city's police
headquarters, demanding the release of
the official video. Although many blocked traffic on a nearby interstate
highway, the demonstrations were mainly peaceful.
"The people tonight have expressed themselves
in a way that is positive beyond
measure," protest leader Marcus Bass said through a megaphone.
Cassandra Gould, a pastor from Ferguson, Missouri,
where a black man was controversially killed in 2014 in an incident that
triggered intense riots, addressed the crowd and urged protesters to keep
pressuring the police department.
"Stay strong, stay disciplined, stay in the
streets," she said.
"Why should you go home if you just keep
burying black bodies?"