The Charlotte police will release body camera and dashboard videos showing the fatal shooting of a black man that triggered rioting in the city, the police chief said on Saturday, following calls from protesters and civil rights leaders to make the footage public.
The shooting on Tuesday of Keith Scott, a 43-year-old father of seven, was the latest in a series of deadly police encounters across the country in recent years that has raised questions about the use of force by U.S. law enforcement against African-Americans and other minorities.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney told a news conference that the evidence shows that Scott was in possession of a handgun during the confrontation with police. He also said Scott was in possession of marijuana at the time.
Police have continually said that Scott was armed at the time of the encounter with officers, a contention that his family has disputed and which gave rise to the protests and rioting in Charlotte.
A video taken by Scott’s wife and released to the public on Friday did not provide an answer on whether Scott had a gun.
Putney on Saturday said the evidence was clear.
“Yes, based on the totality of what we see, he absolutely was in possession of a handgun,” Putney told a news conference.
“There was a crime that he had committed that caused the encounter, and then the gun exacerbated that situation,” Putney told reporters.
“What I can tell you is there is no single piece of evidence that proves all the complexities involved in this investigative process,” he said.
Putney said earlier in the week that police were not ready to release the video because doing so could compromise the investigation into the shooting. On Saturday, he said that after speaking with state investigators he concluded the video could now be released without “adversely impacting” the investigation.
“What we are releasing are the objective facts,” Putney said.
Protesters have called for officers involved in the shooting to face criminal charges, but Putney said, “Officers are absolutely not being charged by me at this point.”
“But again, there’s another investigation ongoing,” he added.
Demonstrators on Saturday mounted a fifth day of protests in Charlotte. They called for the end of emergency measures imposed on the city this week, the removal of National Guard troops and for officers involved in the incident to be prosecuted.
(Writing by Will Dunham in Washington; Editing by Leslie Adler)