Charlotte, NC — The Charlotte police officer who killed Keith Lamont Scott will not be charged. In a news conference on Wednesday, R. Andrew Murray, the Mecklenburg County district attorney, said he was “entirely convinced” that Police Officer Brentley Vinson “was lawful in using deadly force.”
The controversial shooting of Scott in September of this year lead to a massive uprising of protesters and riots and news of the lack of charges will almost certainly bring more of the same.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 30, 2016
As NPR reports, according to evidence recovered from the scene, testimony from officers and body camera footage from several of the officers, Murray says Scott emerged from his vehicle with a gun in his hand. The Colt .380, according to Murray, had “one round in the chamber,” the safety was off and the weapon was cocked.
“What [the officer] saw was a man who had drawn a gun when confronted by police,” Murray said.
However, Murray did not mention that Scott never once pointed the gun nor did he make any threatening movements whatsoever. He was killed for holding a gun and being noncompliant — two acts hardly deserving of a death sentence.
As the Free Thought Project previously reported, just two seconds elapse between the time Scott removes the weapon from his vehicle and the time Vinson shoots — even though it appears all officers on the scene are located behind cover of vehicles.
Worse, the 34-year-old father, whose only crime constitutes being in the wrong place at the wrong time, never raised the weapon in a threatening manner — he simply never had the chance to, if that was even his intent.
Footage shows Scott retrieve the gun and back away from his vehicle as his wife yells from a slightly removed location that her husband has a TBI — traumatic brain injury — has just taken his medicine and poses no threat to officers.
It would seem from video taken by his wife, Rakeyia, simply in the number of orders to drop the weapon issued by police, that Scott had actually procured the weapon from his SUV prior to the time shown in footage released by Charlotte police.
But even if that is the case, again, at the time Vinson fired four bullets, Scott posed literally no threat to officers.
In fact, the footage brings up a familiar question in lethal incidents involving police, considering North Carolina’s legal open carry laws — whatever happened to employing less lethal means when no imminent threat exists?
Charlotte officers stood safely behind the cover of their and other vehicles on scene. Yes, they did order the man to drop his weapon, but that noncompliance in itself is not a capital offense, even if he holds a firearm in his hand — the man did not brandish the weapon at officers, or even gesture as if he was considering doing so.
Additionally, at the time he was fatally shot, Scott was not a suspect in any crime — he had done nothing illegal nor was he suspected of that. Police merely claimed that they saw Scott with an illegal plant in his car — marijuana.
Charlotte police were on scene either surveilling or attempting to serve an arrest warrant for a completely unrelated individual. Scott simply waited in his car for his son to arrive after school — the same spot in front of an apartment building neighbors say he always waited, reading.
Keith Scott literally did nothing in violation of the law before police ended his life. Caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, and suffering from a brain injury which for all intents and purposes could have made the police seem to be a threat or at least disoriented the man, Scott lost his life for failing to comply.
— Christina Watkins (@CWatkinsTV) September 24, 2016