Posted on November 30, 2016

Charlotte Officer ‘Acted Lawfully’ in Fatal Shooting of Keith Scott

Richard Fausset and Alan Blinder, New York Times, November 30, 2016

A Charlotte, N.C., police officer will not face charges in the fatal shooting in September of a black resident, Keith Lamont Scott, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

The Sept. 20 shooting of Mr. Scott, who the police said had a handgun when he was killed, set off days of unrest in North Carolina’s largest city and led to immense public pressure on the police to release dashboard and body camera recordings, which did not prove that Mr. Scott had been armed.

Still, the decision not to prosecute the officer, Brentley Vinson, who is black, was not a surprise. In September, the chief of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Kerr Putney, said that the officer was “absolutely not being charged by me at this point.”

R. Andrew Murray, the district attorney for Mecklenburg County, said during a lengthy news conference on Wednesday that Officer Vinson was justified in using deadly force against Mr. Scott, saying that he feared for his life and those of his fellow officers. He issued a report of his findings after the news conference.

“Officer Vinson acted lawfully when he shot Mr. Scott,” Mr. Murray said.

Mr. Murray said that despite claims that Mr. Scott was not carrying a gun, he had a .380 semiautomatic handgun with a round of ammunition in the chamber. “All of the credible and available evidence suggests that he was armed,” Mr. Murray said of Mr. Scott.

A surveillance video, recorded at a nearby convenience store shortly before the shooting, was shown to support the statement about the gun. Mr. Murray said that the video strongly suggested that Mr. Scott had been wearing an ankle holster, adding that Mr. Scott had illegally bought the handgun online.


Mr. Scott’s death led to days of protests in Charlotte, some of which turned violent. The local authorities imposed a curfew, and the National Guard was deployed to the city.