As tensions flare overboard in Charlotte, North Carolina, over the dubious police shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott, an eyewitness has come forward to dispute nearly every claim made by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
From the race of the officer who pulled the trigger to the claim Scott brandished a firearm, the female witness — who says she saw the 43-year-old’s encounter with police from beginning to end — contradicts the events as told by police and parroted by mainstream media.
“I’m going to say what I believe, and it’s a cover-up,” the witness, tentatively identified as Taheshia Williams, told a small group of reporters. “They made a mistake and they’re doing their best to make sure they cover up that mistake.”
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, Lyric Scott, the victim’s daughter, began a Facebook Live video to document witness accounts and express rage over her disabled father’s untimely demise at the hands of police.
“The police just shot my daddy for being black,” she lamented through tears.
Lyric Scott and a number of eyewitnesses have reported Keith sat in his usual spot outside an apartment building, reading while waiting for a school bus to drop off his son. They insist Scott only had or held a book, not the gun police say he brandished after refusing to cooperate.
CMPD additionally say a gun, but not a book, was recovered at the scene of the fatal shooting.
But therein lies the heart of controversy which led to ongoing protests, both peaceful as well as riotous.
As Williams recounted on video, “I saw the book. Now can’t say what the name of the book was, but it was a black cover.”
Asked by a reporter whether Scott exited the vehicle holding the book, she explained it must have been on his lap, and when he stepped out, it fell to the ground, because, as she continued, with a gesture to match,
“When he got out, his hands was up.”
Upon exiting the vehicle, Williams explained Scott kept his hands raised, asking officers, “What’s wrong? What did I do?”
She said officers told Scott to approach them — and she observed him complying with their commands to do that:
“He’s walking to the back of his truck,” Williams described, as she demonstrated in gestures for reporters. “He’s asking them, ‘What’s wrong, what did I do?’ and he’s stepping over the book and everything — because the book done fell off his lap by this time,” she said, motioning to the ground.
Williams said when Scott reached the rear of his vehicle, police stated something too quietly for her to hear, but,
“The next thing you know, they shot that man four times.”
When asked whether the officer since identified by police as Brentley Vinson — who is black — was the same officer she witnessed firing on Scott, without hesitation, Williams tells the female reporter, “No, ma’am.
“It was a white officer,” who appeared to be “bald-headed … The black officer came on the scene … maybe … ten, fifteen minutes later? And he was the one doing the CPR on [Scott].”
This particular account of events before and after shooting appear convincing — particularly since Williams motions and gestures throughout her account, as if pulling everything directly from memory, and maintains eye contact with each reporter who asks a question.
Other witnesses on the scene at the time have echoed at least that Scott only held a book, not a weapon.
Below is the video of Ms. Williams’ statement to reporters.
Lyric Scott, in live video during the aftermath of the shooting, insisted officers would actively cover up the shooting to portray it in a light most favorable to justifying law enforcement use of force. She claimed, as her footage seems to verify, that officers in the cordoned crime scene repeatedly moving between patrol cars and her father’s vehicle indicated they were planting evidence.
Granted, to the uninitiated in national instances of police corruption — including innumerable instances of planted evidence — that claim could seem fantastical. Nonetheless, departments nationwide have been charged with exactly that.
Of course, evidence stands at the crux of controversy in Scott’s killing by police.
Still captures from overhead video seem to show a firearm on the asphalt next to a group of officers administering aid to Scott after the shooting. Those who dispute eyewitness claims the man only had a book point to those pictures, almost exclusively, in their arguments.
Although that could indeed have been the firearm police say Scott exited his vehicle holding, the gun as easily might have belonged to the officer who fired the shots — whether or not Vinson was the officer.
Unfortunately, with so many open ends, video footage of the shooting — which could prove or disprove these belligerently opposed narratives — will not be released to the public.
Scott’s family has now been allowed to view police body and dash cam footage of the fatal shooting, but attorney Justin Bamberg would not comment on their reactions to footage, according to CNN.
CMPD Chief Kerr Putney suggested the public release of video capturing the moment of demise would be distasteful, countering public outcry with “[t]ransparency’s in the eye of the beholder.”
It would seem that unless Keith Scott’s grieving family comes forward to describe what video footage shows, the public might never know the truth of his death.
In the meantime, protests over the death of yet another individual at the hands of police rage on — with an irate and violent faction seeming to grow by the day.