The family of Keith Lamont Scott, 43, maintains that he had been sitting in his car reading a book when he was approached by a plain-clothed police officer and shot. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney stated that while the officer was in plain clothes, he was accompanied by officers who were in uniform, and that a handgun, and no book, was found at the scene.
— Sarah-Blake Morgan (@SarahBlakeWBTV) September 20, 2016
“I can tell you we did not find a book that has been referenced to,” Putney continued. “We did find a weapon. The weapon was there and witnesses have corroborated it, beyond just the officers.”
The police have video of the incident, but Brentley Vinson, a black officer who fired the fatal shots, was not wearing a body camera at the time. The department maintains that Scott ignored several orders to drop his weapon. The American Civil Liberties Union is calling for the immediate release of the video.
During the ensuing riots, all lanes of Interstate 85 were blocked, and motorists reported being injured and their vehicles damaged as rioters threw rocks, bottles, and traffic cones off an overpass and onto the traffic passing below.
As fires burned in the street multiple rounds of teargas were deployed throughout the night, beginning at around 11:00 PM.
It was reported that 16 officers sustained mostly minor injuries, though one officer was reportedly hit in the face with a rock. Three reporters from local station WBTV were also injured, with one hospitalized.
A Walmart was looted around 3:30 AM, and remained closed and boarded up on Wednesday. At least three tractor trailer trucks were also looted, with some contents burned on the highway.
— The Current Year (@TheeCurrentYear) September 21, 2016
Describing the incident that led to the killing, police claim they had been looking for a man to serve with a warrant when they saw Scott, who was not the person they were seeking. The officers claim they saw Scott exit his vehicle holding a weapon, and then get back into his car. When officers approached, they say that he exited the vehicle again, holding his weapon.
In a statement, the department claimed that he “posed an imminent deadly threat to the officers, who subsequently fired their weapon striking the subject.”
“The officers immediately requested Medic and began performing CPR,” the statement also noted. Scott was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Scott was convicted in April 2004 of misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon. He had also been charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, and misdemeanor assaults on a child under 12, and a female, and communicating threats. Those earlier charges were dismissed.
The father of seven has been described by relatives as a loving family man.
“These tragic incidents have once again left Americans with feelings of sorrow, anger and uncertainty,’’ US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said of the shootings in Charlotte and in Tulsa, Oklahoma, four days prior. “They have once again highlighted – in the most vivid and painful terms – the real divisions that still persist in this nation between law enforcement and communities of color.’’
Corine Mack, president of the Charlotte chapter of the NAACP, referred to the shooting as a “lynching.”
"When will our lives truly matter? A black father is dead. There are children tonight who will never see their father again," Mack told KTLA.
"It clearly appears as if our lives don't matter. We need to change policies. We need to change procedure. We need to hold police accountable. It's a modern-day lynching. Charlotte is not a good place right now; we're in the throes of this problem."