With both a state of emergency implemented and the national guard deployed in Charlotte overnight following a second night of rioting, there was hope the mood in the city tonight would be less violent. That however, may prove optimistic now that the Charlotte police announced they do not plan – for now – to release a video showing the fatal shooting of Keith Scott by officers, and which that has sparked two nights of violent protests in North Carolina’s largest city, the department’s chief said on Thursday.
The video will only be shown to the family of Keith Scott, 43, who was shot dead by a black police officer in the parking lot of an apartment complex on Tuesday afternoon, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said.
The reason the video is relevant is because many of the protesters dispute the official account of Scott’s death. Police contend he was carrying a gun when he approached officers and ignored repeated orders to drop it. His family and a witness say he was holding a book, not a firearm, when he was killed. “I’m not going to release the video right now,” Putney told reporters, the morning after nine people were injured and 44 arrested in riots over Scott’s killing.
As Reuters notes, Charlotte’s reluctance to release the video stands in contrast to Oklahoma, where officials on Monday released footage of the fatal shooting of Terence Crutcher by police after his vehicle broke down on a highway. That shooting is now the subject of a U.S. Department of Justice probe.
One potential reason for the unwillingness to play the video is that according to Putney, while the video supports the police account of what happened, it “does not definitively show Scott pointing a gun at officers.”