A black man who was shot dead by a police officer in Charlotte made an ‘obvious threat’ towards cops and had a gun and ankle holster, an official has claimed.
The official told CNN’s Nick Valencia that they had seen the body camera video which captured the final moments of Keith Lamont Scott, 43.
The family of Scott will be shown the video at some time today, but the footage will not be released to the general public.
Scott was shot dead by a black officer in the parking lot of an apartment complex on Tuesday afternoon.
Jennifer Roberts, the Mayor of Charlotte, said at a press conference that the family of Scott would be shown the video of the shooting at some point today.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney defended not making the footage available to the wider public however, saying it would impact the integrity of the investigation.
Putney said the video was not conclusive, adding that his staff are thoroughly investigating all of the footage and that it would only be released ‘when there is a compelling reason’ to do so.
‘I’m not going to release the video right now,’ he said on Thursday morning. ‘The family made a request to see it and we’re looking to accommodate that request.’
Despite their refusal to release the video, both he and Mayor Roberts have pledged a ‘transparent investigation’.
‘Transparency is in the eye of the beholder,’ he said. ‘If you think I say we should display a victim’s worst day for consumption, that is not the transparency I’m speaking of.’
A new state law which will go into effect on October 1 will prevent police from releasing body camera footage to the public without a court order. Campaigners however have said the video could be released prior to the end of the month.
Charlotte has seen two nights of protests and rioting, with two starkly different versions of Scott’s death emerging.
Police insist Scott, a father-of-seven, disregarded repeated demands to drop his gun.
But his family and neighborhood residents insist he was holding a book, not a weapon, as he waited for his son to get off the school bus.
The District Attorney’s office, at the request of Scott’s family, has asked North Carolina’s State Bureau of Investigation to step in and investigate his death.
An image that emerged on Wednesday believed to have been taken by a witness moments after he was shot dead appears to show a gun at his feet however.
The killing has ignited racial tensions in a city that seemed to have steered clear of the troubles that engulfed other places.
Police said 44 people were arrested on Wednesday night for a variety of crimes such as assault, breaking and entering, and failure to disperse. At least 11 people, including two cops, were taken to hospital.
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has declared a state of emergency and has called in the National Guard after clashes on Wednesday night.
Violence broke out on Tuesday night shortly after a woman who appeared to be Scott’s daughter posted a profanity-laced, hour-long video using Facebook Live.
She said her father had an unspecified disability and was unarmed. In the footage, she is seen at the cordoned-off shooting scene, yelling at officers.
‘My daddy is dead!’ the woman is heard screaming in the video.
On Wednesday morning, Chief Putney contradicted the events presented on the Facebook video, saying ‘it’s time to change the narrative.’
Putney said officers were serving arrest warrants on another person when they saw Scott get out of a vehicle with a handgun.
A black plainclothes officer in a vest emblazoned ‘Police’ shot Scott after the officer and other uniformed members of the force made ‘loud, clear’ demands that he drop the gun, the chief said.
Putney was adamant that Scott posed a threat, even if he didn’t point his weapon at officers, and said a gun was found next to the dead man.
‘I can tell you we did not find a book,’ the chief said.
The officer who shot Scott was identified by the police department as Officer Brentley Vinson, who is black.
Vinson, a two-year member of the department, has been placed on leave, the standard procedure in such cases.
Neighbors, though, said that the officer who fired was white and that Scott had his hands in the air.
The three uniformed officers had body cameras; the plainclothes officer did not, police said.
But the chief said he cannot release the video because the investigation is still underway.
No cellphone video has emerged on social media, as happened in other cases around the country.
At the apartment complex where Scott was killed, some people who said they witnessed the shooting told their version with an air of certainty even when they were hundreds of yards away.
Taheshia Williams said her balcony overlooks the shady parking spot where Scott was Tuesday afternoon.
She said he often waited there for his son because a bicycle accident several years ago left him stuttering and susceptible to seizures if he stayed out in the hot sun too long.
On Tuesday, she said, Scott had only a book in his hands and was following orders.
‘He got out of his car, he walked back to comply, and all his compliance did was get him murdered,’ Williams said.