On Saturday, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department released dash and body cam footage of an officer killing a black man on Tuesday. The release of the footage by Chief Kerr Putney comes amid widespread calls for the footage to become public. The footage also arrives two days after Chief Putney said he would not divulge it because he never said the investigation of Keith Lamont Scott’s death would involve “full transparency.”
The new footage confirms what the chief said Thursday: it does not show “absolute, definitive visual evidence that could confirm that a person is pointing a gun.” Charlotte is another reminder that footage from body and dash cams is not a panacea, despite widespread calls for officers across the country to deploy them.
Tuesday’s shooting has sparked violent protests, requiring the North Carolina governor to declare a state of emergency and to call in the National Guard.
Police shot the 43-year-old Scott outside an apartment complex while serving a warrant on somebody else. The authorities said the 194th black man killed by US police this year had a handgun that he refused to drop. In a two-minute video the dead man’s wife took with a mobile phone in the moments leading up to the shooting, an officer is overheard yelling, “Drop the gun.” Chief Putney told a news conference on Saturday that police saw marijuana and a weapon in Scott’s car, and said, “uh-oh, this is a safety issue for us and the public.”
Chief Putney’s change of heart to divulge the footage came as the ACLU, NAACP, members of Congress, the victim’s family, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and …