Keith Lamont Scott's family says Charlotte police videos prove nothing

Keith Lamont Scott's family are urging for the public release of the videos showing his fatal shooting by a Charlotte police officer
September 23, 2016, 12:26pm
REUTERS/Mike Blake

The family of Keith Lamont Scott are urging for the public release of the videos showing his fatal shooting by a Charlotte police officer, after the department permitted them to view the footage on Thursday.

After seeing the footage, the family's attorney Justin Bamberg said in a statement that they have been left with "more questions than answers."

While police have contended that Scott, 43, was armed and pointing a gun; a witness had said he was actually holding a book. "It is impossible to discern from the videos what, if anything, Mr. Scott is holding in his hands," Bamberg said.

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The family, along with civil rights groups like the NAACP, are demanding transparency and the immediate public release of the videos. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police chief Kerr Putney, speaking at a news conference on Thursday, said that department would not be releasing the video until the investigation is complete. One reporter asked how Putney could claim to be keeping his earlier promise of full transparency while still refusing to release the video.

"I never said 'full transparency,'" Putney said. "I said, 'transparency," and transparency is in the eye of the beholder."

Meanwhile protests over Scott's death rang through Charlotte for a third night, "we want the tape" and "hands up, don't shoot."

Putney had said earlier in the day that the city would not be imposing a curfew to curb violent factions of the protest – during which 26-year-old Justin Carr, a protester, was reportedly shot by a civilian and later died of his injuries. But despite his earlier promise, the city of Charlotte tweeted at around 10 p.m. that a curfew would be in effect from midnight until 6 a.m, "each day until the State of Emergency is declared or until the official proclamation is revoked."

This is the scene 4 minutes after the curfew went into effect. #CharlotteProtests pic.twitter.com/ALcrfZ0mZ6
— WBTV Ben Williamson (@benlwilliamson) September 23, 2016

But local reports suggest that protests on Thursday night remained largely peaceful, in contrast to the previous nights where some groups had smashed windows, clambered atop police cars, and thrown rocks at officers. By contrast, video footage of a protester offering free hugs to riot police on Thursday night is making the rounds on social media. Other protesters hurl verbal abuse at Ken Nwadike, 22, for his efforts to bridge the gap between riot police and demonstrators.

Lawmakers have started chiming in on the unrest. One congressman, Republican Robert Pittenger from North Carolina, offered his two cents about what was really going on in Charlotte during an interview with BBC's Newsnight on Thursday evening.

"The grievance in their minds – the animus, the anger – they hate white people because white people are successful and they're not," Pittenger said.